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.

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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.