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Video Chat is as Simple as 1-2-3 with WebRTC

April 02, 2015

You may have heard the term “WebRTC” and filed it away in your memory as just another way to video chat. While WebRTC does mimic the video functionality of services such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime, it is more than just another video chat option—it likely is the future of video chat, and it is the future because it is simple to use and an emerging standard that works across various devices and operating systems.

The whole point behind WebRTC is simplicity. Video chat has historically been a complex affair that requires plugins, special software, and a lot of fiddling to make things work. I do a fair amount of video chat both with local friends and those who live internationally, and about a third to half of my conversations are usually taken up with technical talk and video chat setup. It can be a real pain that offsets the advantage of video chat.

WebRTC looks to change that. It makes video chatting as simple as visiting a web page, because it runs in any modern web browser that supports HTML5. Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and others already support it, and hopefully in the future Apple’s Safari web browser will support it (Microsoft’s Internet Explorer also doesn’t support WebRTC, but IE is being discontinued anyway).

It still is early days for the WebRTC standard, but it is being rolled out now and most devices with a web browser will support the standard soon.

via Shutterstock

WebRTC is breathtaking simple because it doesn’t require any setup or downloads. Starting a video chat with the technology is as simple as 1-2-3.

Step 1 is visiting a web site that uses WebRTC. There are a plethora of services that allow free video chat via the WebRTC standard, each with slightly more or slightly less features.

Step 2 is starting a chat by clicking a button on the web page. This step is no more involving than what’s needed to start a new conversation by email.

Step 3 is sharing the link to the chat with the person you want to chat with. The web address for the chat is what connects people to the particular chat, so there’s not even the need for usernames. No registration, no usernames and passwords—just click a button and share the link for the chat.

When the other person is visiting the link, they then are automatically connected to the person who started the video chat. It really is that simple.

This simplicity is why WebRTC is the future of video chat. Thankfully, the days of plug-ins and needing specific software to communicate by video is almost over.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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