Mozilla recently showed off a demo of a video chat app built entirely from web standards. Now Microsoft’s Skype video calling service appears to be headed to the web browser as well.
Liveside.net points out a number of new Microsoft job ads that describe “Skype for Browsers” and say the company is looking for developers with experience building HTML5-based apps.
Last summer Skype began its foray into the browser by hooking up with Facebook to handle the social network’s video chat features. But Facebook is the only place in the browser that Skype will work. The version of Skype running on Facebook also uses a plugin rather than HTML5 features like the Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) standard.
However, with Microsoft’s plugin-free Metro environment getting ready for prime time, the move away from a plugin-based Skype to a version that’s built entirely on web standards would make web-based Skype calls possible for not just desktop browsers, but any Metro-based tablets as well. Of course whether or not that will mean using WebRTC or something else entirely remains to be seen.
With the exception of the Facebook video chat client, “Skype for Browsers” is a long way from reality. But if the project does use the WebRTC standard, it just might help speed up the development of better audio and video streaming tools for the web.