June 24, 2011

Google Threatens Skype with new Chrome APIs


Google Chrome will soon have voice and video chat functionality built right in, removing the need for third-party plugins. By exposing WebRTC (the open project Google grabbed in its 2010 GIPS acquisition) through JavaScript APIs, Google will let any developer build real-time communications in Chrome.

Does this signal the end the Skype’s reign over video chat? Probably not immediately, since Skype can take advantage of new browser technology just as easily as others (assuming its codecs play nice with Google’s VP8). In addition, even if Google gets WebRTC into Firefox and Safari, it’s unlikely we’ll see WebRTC in Explorer anytime soon, especially given Skype's new owner.  Though, you have to wonder what's taking Skype so long in releasing its own Web API.  

Of course, the chat game is about owning users’ contact lists. Could Facebook be the surprise winner in a world of API-enabled, real-time browser communication?