Microsoft’s Skype team has announced the availability of ORTC API, which will essentially allow users to make voice and video calls without the need of any plug-ins. The Redmond giant will be integrating this feature to its newly released Edge browser for Windows 10. Also, the company is also planning to bake this functionality to Skype for Business as well.
“Starting later this year, Skype users will be able to make voice and video calls without needing to install a plug-in on Microsoft Edge and we are working on bringing the same seamless experience to Skype for Business,” said the Skype team.
With this feature, users will be allowed to make real-time video conferencing, voice calls, along with general P2P sharing directly from within the browser without the need for any additional plug-ins. The functionality is not only restricted to Skype for Web and Outlook.com but as well as its sister API Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC).
Though, readers will have to keep in mind that this a just a preview feature as of now, and won’t be available for general use just yet. However, the company assures that the full functionality will be rolled out very soon sometime in 2015.
It’s worth pointing out that WebRTC is also supported by other browsers including the likes of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, though as of now there’s no confirmation whether Skype will make this functionality compatible with these browsers as well. Though, the company says that the use of ORTC APIs will enable them to further develop advanced real-time communications like group video calls even if users are on all ‘different browsers and operating systems’.
It’s worth pointing out the kind of negative impact modern day plug-ins have on browsers. For instance, Adobe’s Flash player which has been heavily criticized for the unusual amount of system memory it demands, and the plug-in is soon expected to be ditched by popular browsers. This makes ORTC and WebRTC initiatives rather welcoming, as it brings us one step closer to a worldwide web where people can browse content without the use of proprietary browsers, which are quite often unsafe and outdated.