Mozilla has partnered with Spanish telecom and ISP Telefonica on a new feature that’ll allow Firefox users to conduct video and audio calls with others directly from their browser. The service, called Hello, won’t require a separate plug-in or add-on nor will users have to visit a special website to place and receive calls.
Hello is built into the latest beta version of Mozilla’s browser, Firefox 34. The free service aims to put the foundation on a level playing ground with Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts through the use of an HTML5-based technology called WebRTC (Real-Time Communication).
In a statement on the matter, Telefonica said Firefox Hello makes it easy to communicate with friends and family who might not have the same video chat service, software or hardware as you. Mozilla supplies the browser which is used by more than 300 million people around the world while Telefonica has the WebRTC infrastructure, the company noted.
Telefonica acquired the technology as part of its acquisition of San Francisco-based start-up Tokbox back in 2012. Tokbox CEO Ian Small stuck around and is now the head of communication services at Telefonica.
Mozilla and Telefonica may seem like an unlikely duo but the two have been working together for a while now (Telefonica is a major proponent of Firefox OS).
Hello is currently a desktop-only feature but I suspect that could change in the not-too-distant future.