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Mozilla Combines Social API and WebRTC

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the neckbeards-in-hi-def dept.

Firefox 44

theweatherelectric writes "Mozilla has put together a demo which combines WebRTC with Firefox's Social API. Over on Mozilla's Future Releases blog, Maire Reavy writes, 'WebRTC is a powerful new tool that enables web app developers to include real-time video calling and data sharing capabilities in their products. While many of us are excited about WebRTC because it will enable several cool gaming applications and improve the performance and availability of video conferencing apps, WebRTC is proving to be a great tool for social apps. Sometimes when you're chatting with a friend, you just want to click on their name and see and talk with them in real-time. Imagine being able to do that without any glitches or hassles, and then while talking with them, easily share almost anything on your computer or device: vacation photos, memorable videos — or even just a link to a news story you thought they might be interested in – simply by dragging the item into your video chat window.'"

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44 comments

Footlong Brown Snake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163583)

Dropped on your momma's chest.

do not want (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163649)

this sounds like it should be an addon, not something native.

Re:do not want (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#42163745)

Most of it is an addon currently. This is more about bringing the tech into the browser standards if i can read through this badly written summary anyway

Re:do not want (2)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year ago | (#42163747)

Indeed.
For every "FIREFOX IS FAST!!" there's always got to be another design decision to slow it back down with some sort of new bloat.

Re:do not want (2)

Fallingcow (213461) | about a year ago | (#42164025)

Phoenix through Firefox1.x were light browsers.

Modern Firefox is so damn bloated that it might be the fattest browser on any system I own.

On my work laptop, only three things kick on the system fan: 1) compiling, 2) opening Eclipse or doing anything in it whatsoever, 3) launching Firefox with one or two tab set to auto-open.

Which is why I use Chrome now, and if I couldn't for some reason then I'd run Safari or (*shudder*) Opera.

Firefox is a browser of last resort, like IE. It's a clunky beast like Netscape/Mozilla used to be. It's as if they've forgotten why they created Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox in the first place...

Re:do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42166781)

The fuck? Opera is awesome! Also, all those features you now take for granted COME FROM OPERA!

And Opera still kicks ass with its Unite feature, which is about the only new browser feature in the last decade, that went in the *right* direction. Instead of playing Pimp My Browser, and creating a bling-laden OS for retards inside a normal OS, in true memetic Xzibit fashion.

Re:do not want (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about a year ago | (#42175395)

Last time I used it, it was far more prone to weird rendering problems and crashes (possibly a result of bad markup/code, but as a user of the browser I don't really care why those things happen) and the GUI still felt, as it had for years, like something out of Windows 95.

Not terrible, but a distant third for me. I could have put "*shudder*" next to Safari too, since the only browser I actually enjoy using right now is Chrome.

Maybe Mozilla's creative process will turn out to be cyclical and there'll be a new Phoenix project that'll give us a super-light-weight, plugin-friendly browser that renders pages reasonably well, and lacks a ton of UI fluff. Then in six or seven years that one will completely lose its way, and a few years later, after losing market share, they'll do it all over again.

I hope so, anyway, because I'd prefer something Mozilla backed to something Google backed.

Re:do not want (1)

Lennie (16154) | about a year ago | (#42173357)

I really don't understand your choice and I've heared this before. The code base of Chrome is a lot larger and Chrome actually uses more memory (partly because of it's multi process model). So it really does not make a lot of sense.

Re:do not want (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about a year ago | (#42174201)

All I know is launching Chrome with two dozen tabs open is faster than launching Firefox with two, and doesn't make my system fan kick on. It also doesn't make my other heavyweight applications less responsive like having FF open does; I get way more busy spinners and unresponsive GUI elements system-wide when FF is running. I can open a new tab without delay with tons of other tabs open, while FF is always sluggish to do the same even with only a couple tabs open.

Everyone where I work has noticed the same thing, and switched away from FF to Chrome or, occasionally, Safari, as a result. I don't think we have one FF fan left; it's joined the class of programs that we only open because we absolutely have to, and close as soon as possible.

Maybe it uses more memory, but I know that Chrome respects my time and the needs of other running applications much better than FF does. Don't know why, but it's not a subtle difference; more than once the answer to "why the hell is my system running like crap?" has been "oh, because I accidentally forgot to close FF".

Re:do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164007)

this sounds like it should be an addon, not something native.

There are advantages to being native. It can be more standard, and more widely deployed.

I currently work for a startup and I'm not allowed to disclose what we're doing in detail, but we are going to be bringing the social computing experience to new places and via new channels. The more standard the deployment of social APIs, the better, because Joe and Jane Public often don't know how to install addons. This is the forefront now just like the web was back in the 90's, and there's a lot of competition in the space we are in. Having a widely deployed standard is better for the industry as a whole, rather than being fragmented into a zillion separate things that don't cooperate with each other. Just think where the web would be now if, instead of a standard (ok, ok, it isn't perfect...) there were a bunch of entirely separate, entirely non-interoperable things. It would never have got off the ground. We're involved now in trying to make sure social APIs can replicate the success of HTTP.

Re:do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42170625)

You must be a coder and not a marketing guy.

Your pitch should start with, "We want social APIs to be as successful as HTTP," and then go into detail. You may also want to use a different example, since Social API is just another service being tacked on to HTTP.

Everything that you say about your company is a marketing message. You don't have to check it with legal and marketing, but you should develop your pitching skills.

actual explanation of what it does (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42163673)

If you were likewise confused by this blurb about clicking on friends' names in the browser, what WebRTC actually is at a technological level, at least, is basically a collection of real-time P2P streaming-media stuff that is currently usually implemented via browser plugins or 3rd-party software. W3C is trying to standardize and expose it via more normal javascript APIs.

The basic functionality will include things like: users opening video or audio streams with each other (which includes NAT-punching, negotiating codecs, etc.) to support Skype-style video chat in the browser; streaming logic to deal with sending/buffering/etc. for P2P streams; support for data connections directly between users, to allow browser-based multiplayer gaming to bypass a central server; and some kind of management of local multimedia resources that I don't fully understand.

The draft standard is here [w3.org].

Some Neck Beard Action (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42163895)

The problem here (and indeed the reason that most of /. passionately hates Facebook) is that the Neck Beards that frequent this Web site simply DON'T "socialize" and really have zero concept about this thing called "socializing" and what happens when you "socialize". The simple fact is that to most of the Neck Beards here, "socializing" means at most some Web cam action at some depraved "pr0n" site, preferably one that doesn't need a credit card - because Neck Beards are cheap.

Re: Some Neck Beard Action (2)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | about a year ago | (#42163979)

Look at it this way: this news isn't for the anti social neck beard that doesn't want to mingle, but for the anti social neck beard that may want to implement said functions at his work and get paid

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164053)

You're going to get modded down (probably rightly so) for your flame presentation, but your content is true: the thing that most slashdotters don't appreciate is that 99.99% of the world does not use computers to "hack out perl scripts and learn that exciting new regular expression syntax". They use computing to socialize. It's an extension of their social circle, which explains why things like Facebook are so wildly popular. But it's certainly true that a certain segment of the population doesn't get this, and is offended that "their" technology is being used by the unwashed masses for things as mundane as socialization.

Humans are social creatures and social computing is only going to become more and more important to daily life as time goes on. I think it's much like... gearheads being annoyed that anyone can buy a car now and run it for 200,000 miles without having to know how to replace head gaskets and so on. It took "their" hobby and made it far less relevant, so that reliable cars are accessible to anyone. Since it's less exclusive now, they have suffered a loss of their club. The same thing has happened to the oldschool command-line computer hackers. They're seeing the world at large adopt technology, and use it in their normal day to day lives, and they don't like it one bit.

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42164079)

I don't think techies object to using technology for socialization. That's something techies themselves have been doing for decades! Even years ago before so many "normal" people were on the internet, social technologies like IRC, Usenet, and mailing lists were extremely popular.

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164203)

If by "socializing" you mean surfing hideous Japanese rape porn involving underage girls in Hello Kitty panties with shaved pussies covered in copious quantities of steaming hot jizz, than you are correct!

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164205)

I'm not so sure... look how proud people on here are that they DON'T have a Facebook. It's much like this guy [theonion.com], but for social.

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164725)

The problem here (and indeed the reason that most of /. passionately hates Facebook) is that the Neck Beards that frequent this Web site simply DON'T "socialize" and really have zero concept about this thing called "socializing" and what happens when you "socialize".

My problem with it is that they have implemented their interpretation of an unfinished standard. This will lead to early adopters supporting what will eventually be a "close, but no cigar" implementation and more fragmentation in the wonderful world of browsers.

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164973)

That's how web standards work. Multiple browsers try out alpha implementations to figure how the feature should actually work and get feedback on it. The browser developers discuss what precisely the final standard should look like and then declare it a standard once they agree. I'm not sure about these standards, but at least in CSS there's prefixing (putting "-webkit-", etc. in front of properties) to prevent any confusion about draft vs. final standards.

Thinking of web standards as something developed in a void and then implemented in real browsers only when finalized gives a very warped view of the actual process.

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42166235)

An unfinished standard only one single company uses and only this single company will use for the foreseeable future.

Even calling it "Social API" is a scam. It is a "Facebook API" and it will stay a Facebook API, and by integrating it into the core browser instead of an addon, Mozilla is helping coerce Facebook on everybody.

Fuck Mozilla, this is outright treason. It is time they take a serious nose dive.

Re:Some Neck Beard Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42166631)

I'm not on Facebook and no menu items or sidebars show up for me. Perhaps you should have logged out of Facebook to realise this.

Let me know when... (3, Interesting)

Agent ME (1411269) | about a year ago | (#42163999)

... the documentation on these features exist, and the Social API works for more things than just Facebook. There's literally a whitelist in the browser (about:config, key social.activation.whitelist) which only allows Facebook to use the Social API features. (And if you edit the whitelist yourself and try to use the feature on a different site, it just re-opens the Facebook sidebar because Facebook's siderbar seems to be hardcoded in other places too.)

Re:Let me know when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164097)

I am counting the days until this social bullshit api starts to seriously piss me off.

(Then I guess I switch to Seamonkey ironically not bloated compared to this.)

I don't use Facebook but the people I know who do want it without adverts.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about a year ago | (#42164593)

When the browser asks you if you want to use one of these features, just click No. No one is forcing you to use a Facebook siderbar.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year ago | (#42165509)

When the browser asks you if you want to use one of these features, just click No. No one is forcing you to use a Facebook siderbar.

Meanwhile, the Mozilla folks have been dodging HTML4 and CSS3 for over twelve years [mozilla.org]. You tell me, what sounds like a better use of time: bloating the browser with some bullshit Facebook-specific plugin or allowing for decimal aligned numbers in tables?

Sadly, Firefox becomes less and less relevant as they try the most hamfisted ways to maintain relevance.

Re:Let me know when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42176895)

When it is hardcoded (as you said it was), you don't have any choice but to have it enabled. While I have not ran wireshark on Firefox in a while (since my firewall silently drops all traffic to the IP-ranges of Facebook and others), I assume that Firefox still tries to contact Facebook even when I have manually disabled the sidebar.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about a year ago | (#42223887)

Why would you assume that? Eventually, the social API is going to work for sites other than Facebook too. Would you assume that Firefox periodically tries to contact every single site that supports the feature even when you didn't enable it? That's ridiculous.

Re:Let me know when... (3, Informative)

caspy7 (117545) | about a year ago | (#42164961)

As it stands there is one page on the internet (on Facebook's site) that can install this sidebar.
Avoid going to that page and clicking the "Turn On" button and you should be golden.

The Browser is the OS. (2)

ipquickly (1562169) | about a year ago | (#42164211)

The web browser is the GUI of the cloud. The operating system is irrelevant as Firefox on OS X, Linux or Windows will provide exactly the same user experience reducing the OS to an api.

I wonder if these standards will result in an explosion of new web browsers or of specialized applications, each claiming to be better/faster than the other.

Re:The Browser is the OS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42165241)

Depends on the implementation. I can install Firefox on linux, but have to jump through a bazillion hoops to get netflix to work on it. The underlying OS (or library like silverlight) is relevant.

Re:The Browser is the OS. (1)

Lennie (16154) | about a year ago | (#42173505)

Firefox isn't more of an OS than any other browser, but of course there is also the Boot2Gecko / Firefox OS, now that is Firefox as an OS. :-)

iChat (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#42165971)

Imagine being able to do that without any glitches or hassles, and then while talking with them, easily share almost anything on your computer or device: vacation photos, memorable videos â" or even just a link to a news story you thought they might be interested in â" simply by dragging the item into your video chat window.'"

In other words, what iChat has allowed me to do for half a decade? I've used it to run contract negotiations with the contract document shared via iChat to all parties, for example.

So what exactly is new here?

Re:iChat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42166517)

with the contract document shared via iChat to all parties

Except for the 88% of PC users that don't use MacOS.

Untied from a server (1)

snadrus (930168) | about a year ago | (#42173775)

True P2P. The internet can realize its potential for peer exchanges. Servers and censorship begin to lose their grip.

It’s called an INSTANT MESSENGER. Or even IR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42166763)

Geez. Firefox has become its own OS. I wonder when they will release a good browser for it... ;)

I have Kopete, thank you very much. And actual applications. Not Xzibit's latest memetic abominations.

Default set of plugins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42166975)

Why not factor out all these enhancements (Social API, WebRTC, some 3D layered view on a web site, ...) as officially maintained plugins and offer two versions of firefox for download. One full install and a minimal install where it's possible to download the plugins.

Re:Default set of plugins (1)

Lennie (16154) | about a year ago | (#42173487)

You want to go back to an area where you need to install things as seperate downloads ? Similair to Real Audio player, Quicktime player and so on ?

Cool new (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about a year ago | (#42169673)

"it will enable several cool gaming applications" Any product that includes 'Cool' in the description is automatically off my list of things I need. You don't see a "cool,new seatbelt design' or a 'cool, new high fiber cereal'..... do ya?

The bigger WebRTC news (2)

yourlord (473099) | about a year ago | (#42169971)

Is that the IETF WebRTC draft mandates the Opus audio codec for all clients..
http://www.opus-codec.org/ [opus-codec.org]

From:
http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-rtcweb-audio-01 [ietf.org]
3. Codec Requirements

      To ensure a baseline level of interoperability between WebRTC
      clients, a minimum set of required codecs are specified below. While
      this section specifies the codecs that will be mandated for all
      WebRTC client implementations, it leaves the question of supporting
      additional codecs to the will of the implementer.

      WebRTC clients are REQUIRED to implement the following audio codecs.

      o Opus [RFC6716], with any ptime value up to 120 ms

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