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June 22, 2011

Small Business VoIP for Your Chrome Browser?

 By Stefanie Mosca, TMCnet Managing Editor

They say your browser defines you. Okay, so maybe you’ve never heard that before… but think about it- your browser of choice says more about you than you think.

First off let’s consider what browser you choose; the traditional Internet Explorer, trendy Mozilla Firefox, Apple (News - Alert)-loving Safari or innovative Chrome. Granted, your choice may be based on functionality, appearance or convenience, but I’m willing to bet that there was some sort of logic behind it beyond it being the browser that was preloaded onto your computer.

Secondly, like a cell phone, you spend a lot of time online searching the Web so you have most likely customized your homepage and toolbars to include your favorite bookmarks, sites and RSS feeds, etc. It makes sense; as users, we like to have everything we need all in one place so it saves us the time and energy of multitasking using different platforms or devices, right?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could also incorporate additives like VoIP to your browser? Well now, Google (News - Alert) is working towards implementing a concept to integrate a Skype-like VoIP software to its popular Chrome browser.

 According to CNET News report written by Stephen Shankland, Google is beginning to build its open-source audio and video chat project WebRTC into enhancements it’s making to the Chrome browser. Apparently, the real-time chat software originated from Google's 2010 acquisition of Global IP Solutions (News - Alert) (GIPS), a company specializing in Internet telephony and videoconferencing.

“The obvious beneficiary for the project is Gmail, whose audio and video communications ability today requires use of a proprietary plug-in. Gmail chat is getting more important as Google's VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) efforts mature and integrate with the Google Voice service,” Shankland wrote.

Google has higher hopes that WebRTC will be used well beyond Gmail and become an incarnation of a new Web standard for videoconferencing and peer-to-peer communications, according to the report. Google said it released the technology as open-source, royalty-free software and pledged to work with other browser makers Mozilla (News - Alert) and Opera on the real-time chat project.

"Our goal is to enable Chrome with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs [application programming interfaces]," Henrik Andreasson, a Google programmer from GIPS, said in a mailing list message last week. "We are working hard to provide full RTC support in Chrome all the way from WebKit [the open-source browser engine on which Chrome is based] down to the native audio and video parts."

No word on when the VoIP software will be rolled out on Chrome, but if you are already a Chrome user and a fan of all Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has to offer, the additive is sure to be a great addition. Stay tuned!


Stefanie Mosca is a Web editor for TMCnet. Previously she worked as a freelance copy editor for Digital Surgeons LLC. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny


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