WebRTC, according to Wikipedia, is “an API definition drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that supports browser-to-browser applications for voice calling, video chat and P2P file sharing without the need of either internal or external plug-ins”.
It is a free, open project that provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose. The WebRTC initiative is a project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera, amongst others.
WebRTC has now implemented open standards for real-time, plugin-free video, audio and data communication. The need is real:
- Many web services already use RTC, but need downloads, native apps or plugins.
These includes Skype, Facebook (which uses Skype) and Google Hangouts (which use the Google Talk plugin).
- Downloading, installing and updating plugins can be complex, error prone and annoying.
- Plugins can be difficult to deploy, debug, troubleshoot, test and maintain—and may require licensing and integration with complex, expensive technology.
The guiding principles of the WebRTC project are that its APIs should be open source, free, standardized, built into web browsers and more efficient than existing technologies.