WebRTC Expert Feature

January 07, 2014

Tweet This to Call Me

Looking at the subject of “directory,” it’s easy to quickly confuse elements.

I have a tendency to look at the forest and miss the trees, but when it comes to directory, and particularly the aspect of discovery, I am probably staring at the bark.

The PSTN requires that you belong to the directory, making it an added cost to not be published.  Wireless, however, is totally unpublished, though you can use services like listyourself to make your mobile number publicly known. And as for Skype, iChat, Facebook, et al, these Internet-based services all present experiences that are wildly mixed at best, evoking the famous New Yorker cartoon that offers, “On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog.”

So my big issue is discovery.  Perhaps this is because of my attempts to reach the world via email, or maybe it’s just that I am a Bellhead.  Whatever the explanation, I like being able to look up the people I want to call.

On the Internet, I can search for a person’s contact information, sure, however with the ever-growing mix of services there is always the chance of being taken to information far and beyond the phone number I am seeking (to a person’s criminal record for instance). As such, when it comes to introductions, search is generally not a good way to find contact information. LinkedIn? A huge and wildly varied collection of open networkers and people who never look at their stuff.  Facebook? Well, it may work for some, but in my opinion the whole establishing friendship thing is an open invitation to drivel and diatribe.

Curious as it may seem, Twitter may be the best discovery and contact system for reaching out to new people without risking annoyance as, after all, it highlights and promotes followers. In fact, I suggest Twitter be used for the discovery aspect and then, once discovered, take over signaling to establish browser calls. 

Twelephone, which Chris Matthieu built on top of Twitter, handles discovery quite well and is an interesting WebRTC implementation that is well worth your time.

Twitter is more asynchronous than real time communication, though, so its use with WebRTC should include access to services. A possible expansion, for example, could be to offer an Instagram-like service that supports independent twitter IDs, or hashtags, affiliated with the user. This, of course, could then lead to stream and webcast initiation and video mail services, and then once a connection is established the signaling could be taken over in the data channel. All of which brings us ever closer to a lot of interesting ideas for the service - including the event stream I wrote about just a few weeks ago.

WebRTC as a browser-based solution can be discovered in a variety of ways, but discovering the website is not the same thing as discovering the users. Twitter, though, lends itself to links … we just need to get our signals straight.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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