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Google WebRTC: Can It Replace Skype?

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the the-battle-of-the-computer-industry-giants-heats-up dept.

Google 199

mikejuk writes "Google WebRTC, all open source, is part of the web revolution that allows one browser to talk directly to another without the need for a server getting involved. WebRTC is an API that used the new P2P web API to allow developers to implement audio and video communications using direct P2P links between browsers. This really is a game changer." And, while this feature doesn't seem to have gotten a lot of attention so far, Google Voice can call landline and cell phones for a small fee, just like Skype.

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Red? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322004)

Why is the banner red for this one?

Re:Red? (3, Funny)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322072)

Read the summary again, it's a WEB REVOLUTION! Red like the blood that shall be spilled for the virtual betterment of all!

Am i so stupid??? (2, Interesting)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322030)

Tell me that such a thing as direct p2p connection between two anonymous computers in the wild, and even web-browser, is simply said IMPOSSIBLE without a third party, which is managing the tunnel between them. I simply don't see how this could work. No, no and no.

Re:Am i so stupid??? (3, Interesting)

Jamu (852752) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322104)

I'd imagine that Google will be the third party that allows the two peers to negotiate their p2p connection.

Re:Am i so stupid??? (2)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322146)

Given they released the source, I'd expect anyone could be the third party. Mozilla, Opera or others.

Third parties could presumably offer other services, such as POTS connections letting folk make cheap phone calls from their browser.

Re:Am i so stupid??? (1, Informative)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322282)

Just subtract "anonymous" and it's a lot less impossible. The internet is kinda based around this thing called an IP address...

Great Opertunity For Google (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322038)

MS has not announced how exactly they will change Skype, but you can bet it will involve monetization in all forms. Don't expect any of the currently free Skype services to continue. Asterisk already lost Skype support.

This is a great opportunity for Google to roll out a multi-platform competitor.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (5, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322084)

It's also a great opportunity for Apple to (finally) open the specifications for FaceTime, as they said they would when they introduced it.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322300)

as they said they would when they introduced it.

Source (link) please.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322496)

Go watch the Keynote.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (2)

catdriver (885089) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322542)

Source (link) please.

It's in the WWDC 2010 Keynote [apple.com] .

A summary can be found in this article [computerworld.com] .

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (4, Informative)

Doogie5526 (737968) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322548)

Steve Jobs said it at the WWDC keynoe when it was announced in June of last year:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP37O0horpY#t=6m44s [youtube.com]
"We're going to the standards bodies starting tomorrow and we're going to make FaceTime an open industry standard."

Sorry for the YouTube link, I couldn't load Quicktime streaming here.
http://www.apple.com/apple-events/wwdc-2010/ [apple.com]

That doesn't mean they're going to open FT up (2)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323140)

Steve Jobs said it at the WWDC keynoe when it was announced in June of last year: "We're going to the standards bodies starting tomorrow and we're going to make FaceTime an open industry standard."

All that means is that FaceTime's protocols will be open - so anyone could build their own implementation of a FaceTime client or a FaceTime server (presumably it needs one).

It does not necessarily mean that Apple's FaceTime system will accept connections from non-Apple FaceTime clients, or that Apple's FaceTime clients (the FaceTime app on OS X, or FaceTime on iOS devices) will connect to non-Apple FaceTime servers.

Which is too bad, really. I hope they do fully open it up to outside use, but I doubt it.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322392)

FaceTime? How many fractions of a second would it take to facebook to cry trademark infringement?
I mean, evenI think it is a facebook rip-off. Facebook si suing anything with either fce or book on its name despite there being hundreds of good reasons to use those words in you site name but "FaceTime" does NOT seem to have any value outside of, "might be confused with facebook"

Posting anonymously for frear of the iTaliban.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322524)

It seems to have lots of value in some places. "Face time [wikipedia.org] is an English idiom for direct personal interaction or contact between two or more people at the same time and physical location."

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322702)

As i understand it, FaceTime is primarily based on SIP...

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (2)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322096)

What are you basing this on? Microsoft has a lot of completely free software and services. Why would Skype be so different? If anything. Microsoft has a lot more money to throw around than Skype's previous owners did, right?

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322136)

They will do what they have always done, apple support will be a distant second and linux support if it exists will be in name only. See silverlight, and no moonlight is not anything other than support in name only. Even if they could make more money by having wider support, when it comes to Microsoft all will be sacrificed at the alter of the desktop monopoly.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322180)

Ok, so they may make it MS only. I could see that happening. But that's not monetizing it/charging for it. If anything, the evil-est thing I can see them doing right now is making it basically functional on Windows only. Maybe they'll make it work on the xbox, too, and I could see them offering things like Linksys did (standalone phones, I have one ... works somewhat well).

I would be happy if they made it work on Linux well. Here's to hoping.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322372)

Ok, so they may make it MS only. I could see that happening. But that's not monetizing it/charging for it.

It is monetizing it, just not directly. They sell Windows, and if Skype only runs on Windows, they sell more Windows licenses to people who might otherwise be on Mac, Android/Linux.

Google has one chance to thwart this with Gtalk/Gvoice combination, and that chance is now! If they don't step up, someone else will, and who wants FacePhone from Facebook.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322832)

They should because apple and linux support microsoft right? right.. There is no lockin that even comes remotely close to what apple does.
They are all trying to gain a monopoly, that's the game. It would be a very expensive and limited if apple ever does..., and other than the technically inclined it would be very unsupported and headache inducing if linux ever did, at least in it's current state, cause people tend to want to use the OS to do work, not work on the OS.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322124)

I predict licensing fees out the ass.

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322510)

Don't expect any of the currently free Skype services to continue. Asterisk already lost Skype support.

Asterisk is nominally open-source.

But as an enterprise application it is for all practical purposes a wholly owned subsidiary of Digium.

While Skype for Asterisk was a bit deeper than what Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP) offers for other telephony platforms, it's a "stronger business proposition" for Skype to offer more customers Connect than to support a proprietary product for a specific vendor...

"I don't think Skype for Asterisk was compelling enough, nor did it generate enough money for Skype to continue to support it,"

Skype Connect currently works with telephony systems for Avaya, ShoreTel, and Cisco, among others. Digium will be validating Skype Connect next month...so Asterisk customers will continue to have some Skype support.

Skype Ends Support For Open-Source Digium Asterisk VOIP PBX [eweek.com]

Re:Great Opertunity For Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322844)

You can also bet that Android and Linux Skype clients will not see much future development.

Look, it new again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322042)

IRC DCC but with XML and in a BROWSER! If this stuff was any good, it would have been implemented in the OS, not in the browser.

What's Google Voice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322062)

Oh, it's yet another thing limited to the USA. Carry on, nothing to see here.

Will this stick? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322066)

Another in a long series of (mostly failed) attempts by Google to successfully branch out beyond search & ads.

Re:Will this stick? (2)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322220)

Huh? To name a few Google apps that are successful: Google Earth, Chrome, Gmail, & Picasa.

Re:Will this stick? (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322320)

Nah, what failures all of those were. Just like the failure of AppEngine, Google Translate, Android...the list of failures goes on and on... /sarcasm

Re:Will this stick? (2)

winkydink (650484) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322450)

How much revenue do they bring in?

Re:Will this stick? (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322792)

how much revenue does those "live" stuff bring to MS ? and IE ? and a whole lot of other stuff that are not the windows/office combo ?

it's all irrelevant, as long as those loss leaders bring costumers to revenue/profit generating products.

Re:Will this stick? (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322804)

That depends, do we get to count income tied to the extra ad impressions created by users of those services?

It's kind of like the "give away razors to sell blades" logic, except most google services are razors, and google *users* are the blades.

Re:Will this stick? (1)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322816)

You cannot compare the revenue from Picasa to Search Ads.
That is like comparing the revenues from the oil industry to candle makers.

I am pretty sure Google does fine with the ads on gMail. The revenues are sufficient enough that there is no reason to abandon gMail because its revenues are way less than their search business.

Some business divisions make money and others make more.
As long as it makes money, there is no reason to abandon the lesser money making machines.

Re:Will this stick? (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322954)

There is more to releasing a product than brining in revenue. It is in the best interests of the major technology companies to stay in the users' minds. The positive associations do a lot of good. Google offers a lot of services where they don't get much revenue to trick you into using the ones where they do. It functions similarly to Microsoft and Sony selling their consoles at a loss just to gain users. You often have to spend money to make money.

Re:Will this stick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322994)

...says the user of their services.

Their revenue is heavily ad based, but their other revenue streams would include the premium Google Apps services, Google Voice, SketchUp Pro, and Google Checkout.

Re:Will this stick? (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323110)

How much money are they making?

Re:Will this stick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322412)

Like Maps, Docs, Android, Chrome and Mail?

Re:Will this stick? (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323098)

No it won't stick because it requires the browser code base to include their code. It is dead from the start. At least with Google's other failed attempts, they leveraged existing technology. Their problem now is that they're under the delusion that the browser is the OS. When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail...

Google Voice (3, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322070)

Unless something has changed, Google Voice isn't VoIP, and doesn't charge to call landlines or cell phones because it uses your own phone minutes to call them.

Re:Google Voice (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322126)

Google Talk includes VOIP functionality, Google Voice is a different product.

Re:Google Voice (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322178)

Right, but TFS said Google Voice, not Google Talk.

Re:Google Voice (2)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322808)

Google Voice integrates with GChat and Google Talk, it's all essentially one service, and my Google Voice number is what people see when I call via the Gmail chat application, so Google Voice is VOIP.

Re:Google Voice (2)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322152)

Google Voice is VoIP when initiated on your computer via Gmail, and is still free up through the end of this year at least. On a (typical) mobile phone you're right, it's merely a call negotiator, not a VoIP service.

Re:Google Voice (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322728)

Google Voice is VoIP when initiated on your computer via Gmail, and is still free up through the end of this year at least. On a (typical) mobile phone you're right, it's merely a call negotiator, not a VoIP service.

You are thinking of the Google talk with ability to make calls. This is different from google voice, or at least I thought so. I guess they could be the same back end but I always put them in two different categories since they were on two different sites. From google voice you can call anyone for free (within the US at least), you just have it connect to one of the phones you have it linked to and then the target phone. I think that a lot of people currently confuse google voice (previously grand central) with google talk now that talk has the phone landline ability.

Re:Google Voice (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323092)

It uses your Google Voice number. You can even receive calls. In the Voice settings page, Google Chat is listed as a linked phone so you can configure it like any other. It even works with third party chat clients that support XMPP voice calls like Pidgin.

Re:Google Voice (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322154)

VoIP=Voice over Internet Protocol

So are you saying that Google Voice isn't Voice, or that it doesn't work on the Internet Protocol?

Re:Google Voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322198)

he's saying that Google Voice isn't Google Talk

Re:Google Voice (1)

MrEkted (764569) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322404)

Google Voice used to be called "Grand Central," which was just a call-forwarding service.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Voice [wikipedia.org]
At the time they acquired Grand Central, they also had Google Talk, which was computer-to-computer VOIP. Google Voice then integrated (lightly) with Google Talk on some clients. Then, they introduced Google Call, which was a VOIP to landline capability (free until the end of 2011 for US calls, so far). They have a huge bag of software & names. Seems like they need a re-branding and completely integrated solution.
I think it's fair to say that "Google Voice" is not VOIP, just a call-fowarding service. Google Talk & Google Call are VOIP.

Re:Google Voice (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322476)

So the former then, Google Voice is not Voice. I wasn't trying to troll, I just have no familiarity with Google Voice, and thought it funny that it shouldn't be VoIP when the one phrase is virtually a transliteration of the other, but apparently that's the case.

Re:Google Voice (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322480)

So are you saying that Google Voice isn't Voice, or that it doesn't work on the Internet Protocol?

There is a great deal of ambiguity in these discussions. The parent is stating the Google Voice, when used via a mobile device through the Google Voice app, is not VoIP. This is a correct statement. When you place a call to a non-Google Voice number (land line, cell number, etc.) from your mobile device using the Google Voice feature you are actually calling a generic number. Google places another call to the to desired number and the two calls are connected. Thus, your device is using conventional cell phone communication, and burning whatever 'minutes' are involved.

Google Voice is also a VoIP product when used from desktop systems. You can place calls from within Gmail to other Google Voice users, POTS numbers, etc.

Google Voice currently provides 'free' US domestic calls. From the desktop (via VoIP) the calls really are free. From your mobile device you consume minutes to place the call to the generic number, but Google charges you nothing. Google subsidies their expense of placing domestic calls on your behalf from revenue they collect for international calling. This situation may not last forever; Google is still evaluating the viability of free domestic calling.

Some or all of the above is badly incomplete, incorrect, misleading or otherwise faulty. This stuff is complicated and the sources of information are wildly ambiguous, deliberately in some cases.

Re:Google Voice (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322506)

For a while one could use Gizmo as a Google Voice endpoint. But then Gizmo was bought by Google and since then have stopped accepting new accounts.

Re:Google Voice (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323008)

It doesn't use any minutes in North America. I've integrated by Sprint and GV numbers, used GV to integrate with Sipgate, and can make and receive phone calls from my home on a Siemens Gigaset handset for free using my cell number. Since I work from home, this has been a huge cost savings for me.

If you call outside of North America, then yes, your Google Voice account gets charged, but inside North America the service is free.

It's not the only protocol that does this... (2)

krotscheck (132706) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322080)

Adobe's RTMFP has had this ability for years now, and they've since developed it further to include peer-to-peer rebroadcasting.

Except... it requires Flash, which is a dirty word around these parts.

Re:It's not the only protocol that does this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322246)

Is that Read The Manual Fucker Protocol?

Re:It's not the only protocol that does this... (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322292)

Is that Read The Manual Fucker Protocol?

Really, Trust Macromedia Flash Protocol

Re:It's not the only protocol that does this... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322382)

I read: "Raging Taco Man From Pluto"

Re:It's not the only protocol that does this... (0)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322454)

My guess is "Read The Manual, Fucking Pussy".

Re:It's not the only protocol that does this... (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322298)

The issue is that it requires flash, and is only implemented in flash. If you want to use it, you have to write your application in flash. Similarly, Skype only works with the Skype client, and if you want to use their P2P voice network, you have to use their software. The difference here is that its an open specification. Anyone is free to implement it however they choose, and are not constrained to one company's support of a closed binary application.

Re:It's not the only protocol that does this... (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323056)

Is there a shortage of open voice/video chat specifications? Designing a protocol is the easy part. Writing the client and maintaining a viable network that people actually use is the hard part. This Google solution can't be totally Peer-to-Peer. It must have some way to manage contacts, see who is online, and do all the things required to make it a network. Even bittorrent has trackers, you know. All Google is providing as far as I can tell is C++ code to put into a browser. Right, /like that's going happen. I'm sure Microsoft will get right on top of getting this in their next browser. And Apple? Sure.... Oh, you want an updated version of the API? Gotta update your entire browser. Oh, your browser doesn't have the update? Sorry. LAME. At least Flash can be updated independently of your browser.

Charges (1)

ravrazor (69324) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322144)

Actually, the feature that shows up with the Google Chat stuff on the left side of my Gmail includes a link "Call Phone", that lets you call any number in Canada or the States. It works great for me _and_ it's completely free for 2011.

Now all slashdotters go make a fake gmail address, login through a proxy server and start harassing your ex-boss/annoying coworker/the cute girl who turned you down for a date. Looks very difficult to trace.

Google Voice is free (mostly) (1)

TwiztidK (1723954) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322158)

At least for domestic calls, Google Voice is free. Either that or Google likes me enough to never charge me when I call landlines from my computer.

"between browsers"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322164)

Why the fuck does this functionality belong in a browser?

Is it that people are no longer smart enough to launch any other application, so every single thing their computer does has to be done inside a browser?

Re:"between browsers"? (4, Insightful)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322228)

how about this; whenever you read browser, mentally substitute 'http html5 and javascript interpreter'

that should clear up your issue.

Re:"between browsers"? (1)

Scyber (539694) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322426)

Chrome OS

some capacities missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322192)

- screen sharing
- conference call (audio + video)
- call in every country (perhaps that work, I didn't try yet)

are the most important for me.

Yo Dawg, (5, Insightful)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322200)

I heard you like an OS in your OS, so I put an app in your app so you can experience the reinvention of every app while you surf the web.

I'm not sure I like this trend of taking every piece of software functionality, making it work inside a browser, and then treating it like it's something new. I feel like I'm back in the 90s, where every new song on the radio was some old song sung by a new person.

Re:Yo Dawg, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322356)

It's very different from taking a phone, removing the keyboard and treating it like it's something new.

Re:Yo Dawg, (1)

cyberfin (1454265) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322488)

Have you listened to radio lately? The 90's are still going strong, as all of its other traits. As for Google, if it remains as the only free and usable service, of course it will become the norm.

Re:Yo Dawg, (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322774)

What's stupid is that they require browser makers to include this API code in the browser. So it isn't really a "web" API. It is just a browser plugin/extension. Why not just write a desktop client library?

I think Google is out of touch. They can't see past the browser. Take this, for example, from this project's page: "The browser is the OS." Fuck you, Google. My browser is not the OS. Google doesn't seem to get that the future is leveraging the browser to do NEW things, not try to replace existing applications with half assed browser versions. Take Google spreadsheets for example. I use it to share spreadsheets with people, but that's usually only after doing the real work offline in a proper Spreadsheet program and importing it into Google Apps. It is kind of inconvenient to do that import, but it is much better than trying to lumber through that clunky browser interface.

Re:Yo Dawg, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322822)

Uuum, that's still the case. We just don't listen to "normal" broadcast radio anymore. ^^

But I agree. I heard Emacs has a browser? Letâ(TM)s run this in it: http://bellard.org/jslinux/ [bellard.org]
And then start Emacs in it, and browse the web. ;))

Now if you manage to make the Emacs browser inside jslinux to itself run jslinux, but run migrate the OUTSIDE OS to it, I will officially marry you. I don't care if you're woman, man, heshe, cat (is fine too), mutant, alien or Cthulhu. That would be epic! ;)

Re:Yo Dawg, (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322910)

I heard you like an OS in your OS, so I put an app in your app so you can experience the reinvention of every app while you surf the web.

I'm not sure I like this trend of taking every piece of software functionality, making it work inside a browser, and then treating it like it's something new. I feel like I'm back in the 90s, where every new song on the radio was some old song sung by a new person.

Now MS has bought Skype, it's not all about technology, but also about a technology that is widespread. This has the potential to be that technology and to replace Skype.

Re:Yo Dawg, (1)

chargersfan420 (1487195) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323048)

I think that making every app work in a browser is the path of least resistance for companies trying to make a multi-platform product. This might not actually be true in all cases, but a lot of executives with a limited knowledge of technology see it this way.

Google Voice is amazing on paper (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322204)

But they broke things with the Linux google-talkplugin 2.0.6.0-1 a month ago, both in Chrome and FF, and it's still not fixed. And I get about as many dropped calls as I did before with AT&T. I guess reliability will improve over time...

Fantastic (1)

Hermanas (1665329) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322206)

Wow, that's really amazing, and definitely has the potential to be a game-changer. Now I'll just wait a few minutes for the slashdot comments to roll in and dash my hopes in the most brilliant fashion imaginable...

Like Skype? (3, Informative)

X.25 (255792) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322260)

Thanks for visiting Google Voice. We're not yet open for users outside the US, but are planning to expand our service to additional countries in the future.

Sorry. Not even close to Skype.

Re:Like Skype? (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322576)

I think that is what people overlook about Skype.

1. IM
2. Video
3. voice
4. phonecalls to home or mobile phone, globally
5. phonecalls from home or mobile phone, globally
6. groups of the above

1, 2, 3 and 6 is most often talked about, while 4 and 5 is what has made Skype so popular. This in particular as you can do it from anywhere in the world if you can log onto the Skype service. And the rates are local rates.

Re:Like Skype? (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322926)

7. File sharing

Re:Like Skype? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322946)

Thanks for visiting Google Voice. We're not yet open for users outside the US, but are planning to expand our service to additional countries in the future.

Sorry. Not even close to Skype.

Google is probably very busy making those plans reality now Skype is bought by MS. Don't be surprised if they have worldwide coverage by the end of the year.

Re:Like Skype? (1)

Konsalik (1921874) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322950)

Exactly! The whole "Google voice to replace skype" argument is void if you live outside the US (95.5% of the world). Also this whole "OMG WE NEED TO MOVE AWAY FROM SKYPE CAUSE MICROSUCK0RZ" is really annoying. Too many /. articales spent on this pointless debate. As long as skype does what it does now, I am happy and will continue to use it.

NAT traversal in practice? (2)

molo (94384) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322268)

from the WebRTC FAQ [google.com] :

Includes and abstracts key NAT and firewall traversal technology using STUN, ICE, TURN, RTP-over-TCP and support for proxies.

Does anyone know how well this works in practice? It seems that some external server will be needed for coordination, making this very much less P2P than it would otherwise be.

-molo

Re:NAT traversal in practice? (2)

Tester (591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322346)

ICE with TURN work really well.. TURN means using a relay.. And Google said that with Google Talk, less than 5% of calls use the relay, that means that NAT traversal is successful 95% if the time. With a relay,. you get very close to 100%.

direct P2P links .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322272)

"WebRTC is an API that used the new P2P web API to allow developers to implement audio and video communications using direct P2P links between browsers"

But how will security services be able to monitor this if it don't go through some supernode?

Google will only let you call out in the US (3, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322314)

And since the big reason for using skype is to stay in touch internationally, that's a much bigger barrier than you might think.

Needs to ba a 'verb' (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322330)

For this to even be a great success, the application needs to be `verbable` (I know verbable as a word does not exist in the English dictionary).

That is, it needs to be put into a sentence as: 'skyped' is to skype, 'googgled' is to google, and so on...So we need a verb for the application. Suggestions welcome.

My suggestion 'Mirror' so that we can say bogaboga mirrored in from Helsinki. How about that?

Re:Needs to ba a 'verb' (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322432)

I don't use Skype all that much, but when someone wants to communicate with me via Skype, they've never said "I want to skype you." It's always just "I'll call you on Skype."

Re:Needs to ba a 'verb' (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322674)

I have heard a lot of..."Our correspondent, or contributor , skyped in earlier from Stockholm."

I must admit that I have also heard yr format too. I hope you agree that a good sounding name is also critical to early/easy adoption. I think it's one reason why DOS command names were easier to remember as compared to their Linux/Unix counterparts.

Compare how to change file name united.txt to hope.txt
Linux/Unix: mv united.txt hope.txt
MS DOS: rename united.txt hope.txt

Surely, it's easier on MS DOS as compared to Linux/Unix.

WebRTC Open Code is missing important bits (5, Interesting)

Tester (591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322386)

The WebRTC code that was released is missing many important bits that are required to compete against Skype. The most important is probably a bandwidth management engine, the code that's currently public just sends at a pre-configured bitrate. That means it can only do low resolution video with a shitty quality.

That said, Google Talk in GMail and Android have a dynamic bitrate stuff, and I expect they will be released at some point. I should also mention that Farsight2/Farstream using in Empathy and Pidgin are currently gaining the same kind of bandwidth management that Google is doing. So we should get at least two independent open implementations soon.

Privacy concerns (1)

sakura the mc (795726) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322422)

Unlike Skype with the backdoor rumors, Google will give your data away through the front door.

Skype usability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322598)

Most people that use Skype do so for a number of usability reasons:

- Easy to use interface not clobbered with social stuff (until now)
- Runs on Linux, Windows and Mac
- Stand alone program that does not get in front of you every time like MSN that has lots of giant windows
- Multiple connections from multiple computers
- Messages don't come back, nor you should ever retype a message. If you type and press enter, its the IM system the job to deliver it (much unlike MSN)
- And some others

Web browsers with p2p ability cannot do that.

Well, sadly Microsoft can disrupt all the Skype usability, or could get rid of it in favour of making everything MSN.

Just adding the Landline phone call, SMS messaging and the localized billing systems to MSN won't make it.

Re:Skype usability (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322834)

I tend to agree with you and other posters, that there's nothing particularly "better" about it being in a web browser, and nicely designed stand-alone apps are my preference, too.

However, I do have some comments on some of your points. . .

"- Multiple connections from multiple computers"

I don't know if this browser-based P2P system actually *does* do that, but I don't see why it technically *couldn't*.

"- Messages don't come back, nor you should ever retype a message. If you type and press enter, its the IM system the job to deliver it (much unlike MSN)"

I don't see why a browser-based solution can't queue your messages and deliver them at the next opportunity - however, the server based approach does have the advantage that both computers don't have to be on at the same time, EVER, for delivery of text messages. With the browser based approach, there would have to be short periods, frequently, where both computers are on and logged in at the same time. In practice, I think it's pretty likely that for most users, there would be such windows almost every day, so that's not a huge disadvantage, I don't think.

If it is just a P2P API.. (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322612)

If it is just a P2P API, why the hell do I care if it works with in a browser or has anything to do with the web? I really don't get this obsession with putting things inside browsers. Yeah, it might be handy from time to time to be able to check something on the web like gmail, but for any serious use, I WILL want a desktop (or mobile) app. Sorry, but web apps just don't integrate like desktop apps do. I like Skype's dedicated contact list floating its own window (old Mac version). Notifications through Growl and the Dock. I would be severely crippled if I had to run any Skype replacement inside a browser. It would suck. So.. yeah. Great that it is an open API, but I don't care that it works in a browser.

Note that Skype also does neat things like screen sharing, group chats, etc. I use it very extensively for work.

OMG... I cannot believe it... (1)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322670)

Slashdot confirms: "It's a game changer".

Re:OMG... I cannot believe it... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322810)

Slashdot confirms: "It's a game changer".

"A game changer" ostensibly this means "a blow hard" -- In reference to the 8 & 16 bit era of cartridge based video games and the strange behaviors of those who attempted to "changed the game".

What game changer? (1)

sjvn (11568) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322680)

Skype is P2P VoIP too. This is old technology rehashed one more time. It works OK--I mean there's a reason why Skype's so popular--but if you really want useful open-source VoIP look to SIP implementations.

Steven

Game Changer! Game Changer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322682)

Welcome to a technology I've happily been using for phone service (with real analog cordless phones) for the last 4 years. These the-browser-is-the-OS fanatics have yet to realize, sadly, that there's nothing revolutionary about re-implementing existing stuff on a different platform.

p2p and NAT (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322930)

Although P2P is pretty cool, I do feel like having a server in the middle generally helps things.

Sure there is uPNP, but I don't even like using it with bittorrent.

Skype does open a port on your machine, but I think in general don't you use a middle server that connects the two sides ( likely behind firewalls ) together?

What I'd rather see is a more general purpose API that connects to networks, sound, and video. We are definitely getting there, but we can essentially replace Flash with a few more APIs and further Javascript performance improvements.

From a security standpoint we have to find a way to let Javascript do network connections that are not the same as the main URL. I think the easiest way it to use something like SPF where a dns entry can be plopped on the main sites URL marking the IP address of the server as safe.

This won't really replace Skype as they still have native apps and other access points ( POT lines ), but it could even be used by skype while you are on the road versus some Flash app.

And can't we get an open web cam API before a P2P api? This is why Google needs better product teams, engineers just decide to do cool things, not always useful ones.

"Can it replace. . ." is the worst phrase in tech (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322990)

I'm sorry, but a huge, huge problem over the last two decades is this whole mentality of can XYZ's proprietary approach replace ABC's proprietary approach.

I don't want protocols that are implemented in a single app by a single vendor. What I want is to be able to use the chat app of MY CHOICE and talk to any other use of any other chat program, so that they can use the chat program of THEIR CHOICE.

So, in my ideal world, people on aim can send texts, audio chats, video, files, etc to people on Google Voice, Skype, WebRTC, MSN, Yahoo, or what-the-heck-ever.

That's the way email has been working forever, and it's a great model. With chat programs, since you can choose who to accept messages from and who to let see when you're online, etc, you have much less problem with spam, etc, than you would with email.

But, why can't we adapt the "user@serviceprovider.tld" model of contacting people to the world of IM, instead of having to have 8 different chat accounts on 8 different service providers, none of whom will interoperate with anyone else?

Email would suck if you needed a seperate email account to send and receive email from every different ISP. Chat sucks today, for that reason.

Re:"Can it replace. . ." is the worst phrase in te (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323014)

Perhaps I should clarify one point. Before anyone brings it up, I know that, for the most part, the protocols themselves are "open" enough that, e.g. Pidgin can login to any of the different chat servers. The problem is, that I have to have a seperate account and login to every different chat server.

I want to login to a single chat server of my choice, and still be able to get presence info, chat via text ,voice, or video, and transfer files, with anyone on any other server.

good bie bittorrent... (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322992)

P2P built in the browser...

I am the only one seeing this as the next big platform for file sharing ? one that doesn't require an external client like bittorrent does ?

other advantage, the possibility of using SSL long before starting a search/download would completly block bittorrent monitoring companies from reporting users media associations, if done right.

who want's to start codding ?

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