Firefox Hello: Mozilla enhances OpenTok-powered video chat service

mozilla beta logoMozilla has today released some additional capabilities into the WebRTC communications feature beta it first released a couple months ago and unveiled its name for the first time – Firefox Hello. As always, we’re delighted that OpenTok is the platform of choice for companies building innovative services such as this that are able to scale up to hundreds of thousands of users.

New features of Firefox Hello being released in Firefox Beta today include:

  • New Call Options: One of the key benefits of Firefox Hello is that you don’t need an account to make a call. However, if there are people that you connect with regularly, you can all sign up for a Firefox Account. That enables you to initiate calls directly from your contact list without needing to share a callback link first.
  • Contacts integration: Contacts management has been added for the first time, with functionality for manual input or importing through a Google account. This will make it far easier to call these contacts from within Firefox.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 12.38.29 PM

As Mozilla rolls out Firefox Beta to users over the next few weeks, they will be able to connect with anyone using a WebRTC-enabled browser (such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera) with no need to download software or plugins (credit fayeun). These are just a few of the improvements that have been made since the last release.

Our parent company Telefónica has been working with Mozilla in the background to make this happen. Our Chairman and CEO of Communications Services at Telefónica, Ian Small, has released a statement which we’d like to share here:

Fired up and ready to go! Say hello to real-time communication in Firefox Beta
Ian Small – CEO, Communications Services at Telefónica and Chairman of TokBox

Today, I’m incredibly pleased to announce a partnership between Telefónica and Mozilla which introduces “Firefox Hello” – a seamless real-time video communication feature – directly into the Firefox Beta browser.

Download it here.

As many of you will know, Telefónica and Mozilla are no strangers to each other. We’re a big open web advocate and been strong supporters of Firefox OS from the beginning. We already provide (or have plans to) terminals based on this open mobile operating system with 16 of our operators around the world. Over the last few months, we have extended our relationship with Mozilla to pair Telefónica’s core competency in real-time communications with Firefox using open web standard WebRTC technology from Telefónica subsidiary TokBox.

We acquired Silicon Valley-based TokBox in late 2012 in order to become an early mover in the WebRTC space and bring greater scale to TokBox’s world-leading video communications platform. We know that the communications landscape is changing at lightning pace. Tomorrow’s communications experiences will be increasingly varied, digital, and app-based.

The use of TokBox’s technology is a part of our strategy to partner, disrupt and innovate to offer digital services that are truly reflective of a modern digital telco. This partnership with Mozilla, making the most of our new approach to and capability for digital innovation, is the perfect example of that in action.

Firefox Hello makes it easy to communicate with friends and family who might not have the same video chat service, software or hardware as you. It’s free to make voice and video calls and there’s no need to download software, plugins or even create an account. We’re rolling out Hello over the next few weeks, and it will be ready to use as soon as you open Firefox Beta. You’ll be able to connect with anyone who has a WebRTC-enabled browser, such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera..Please bear in mind that we’re still developing and tweaking, so expect the product to evolve before we make it available to a wider audience.

In keeping with Mozilla’s release schedule, they want to use Firefox Beta to gather your feedback and continue to iterate on the feature for future versions of Firefox. For those of you interested in reading in more detail the product changes that have gone out, you can refer to the Mozilla blog post here.

Download Firefox Beta here.

  • cpbotha

    This is a really exciting development!

    OpenTok supports multi-party group video chat. Will Firefox Hello also do this?

    • LaurenSlattery

      The initial service provides 1-to-1 video and audio calling. In the future Mozilla plans to add group calling.

  • Eliska Kabilova

    ahoj

  • Fred .

    Shouldn’t this be an third-party optional extension to Firefox?
    Does this really belong in the core browser?

    • brooklynberger

      We agree with you completely. That’s why why we are building one. If you are interested in taking a look, we have a site up at firertc.com.

    • Steve Marshall

      no – it belong in the browser. otherwise noone would be installing it. Firertc guy simply doesnt get it yet.

      • Fred .

        Facebook and Skype isn’t integrated in the browser, they still have market share.

        Firefox Hello is basically an app inside an app. An app bundled inside an app. You can’t even uninstall it. It has nothing to do with browsing the web. It is a web app built on top of web technology.

        Also it is unfair to other web developers working on similar web apps that they put this into the browser. This is what makes EU open antitrust cases against Google and Microsoft.

  • Anon

    For those with concerns about privacy, keep in mind that this is mostly proof-of-concept of the powerful WebRTC platform for real time communications. The focus right now is more on the underlying technology than the phone feature.

  • cihadturhan

    That’s wonderful news. Where can I test the service? I’ve looked developer tools and other options but couldn’t find it. I thought it will be released for both firefox beta and developer edition.

  • http://WowGoogle.com/ WowGoogle.com

    Where is the function? I cannot find it from Firefox 34.

  • Dennis Nilsson

    Could this “Hello”-thing be disabled?

  • i2matrix

    very very very nice. Thumbs up.
    *************<<<<<<>>>*********
    Such a great thing for me, i always wanted an open standards based open source (client) chatting sw which respects my privacy. I trust this, because mozilla has it inbuilt, i do not trust any closed source client app. I am always on various different linux distributions and windows too, it is headache for me to make the closed source based voice calling apps properly work on different linux desktops(with different glibc versions)
    dont ever make it optional. Keep it inbuilt part of the core firefox , as it is now.

  • JohnNiice

    I guess this is where Telefonica goes when Microsoft pulls the rug out from under Voype.

  • Click4Advisor

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Denis Silva

    Witam, proponuje panstwu sprawdzona firme kamieniarska, wystarczy wejsc w lupek