Kim Dotcom Goes WebRTC?

06/01/2015

Another celebrity goes WebRTC?

The end of 2014 has been very interesting. We had several celebrities launching mobile WebRTC services.

In the last week of 2014, TheNextWeb published an interesting article titled Kim Dotcom will soon launch an encrypted video call service.

Kim Dotcom's WebRTC service

Kim Dotcom is widely known for his online sharing/storage services. They got him into a clash directly with the US government. He currently lives in New Zeleand and operates the Mega cloud storage service.

Here’s a tweet from that article:

So, what do we have here?

  • Fully encrypted
  • Browser based
  • Video call
  • Chat
  • High-speed file transfer

The first 3 bullets suggest the use of WebRTC. I see no other technology today that can promise such capabilities – unless Kim plans on using Flash in 2015 or go for a plugin – both possible alternatives, but they doesn’t make much sense.

Why WebRTC?

Assuming this is WebRTC, here’s how this all fits in:

  • Fully encrypted. This is what WebRTC provides today. Mandatory encryption of media, forcing developers to encrypt signaling. You practically get it for free from WebRTC
  • Browser based. Well… that’s WebRTC
  • Video call. Provided by WebRTC “out of the box”. My assumption is 1:1 calls for this service to begin with, and maybe in the future support for multipoint
  • Chat. Not part of WebRTC necessarily. If done using WebRTC’s data channel, Kim Dotcom will have the benefit of touting not being able to see the messages that users send to each other (so he won’t be able to collect them for the benefit of law enforcement agencies either)
  • High-speed file transfer. While the Mega platform and infrastructure can (and will) be used to implement this feature, WebRTC’s data channel can get this done as well, with less load on Mega’s servers

A Skype killer?

Unlikely.

Skype has a different modality:

  • Application based, available on mobile and desktop
  • Buddy-list based

A browser based WebRTC service can’t target Skype directly without closing these two gaps. I don’t see it coming from Mega. The service may be successful, due to Kim Dotcom’s publicity, but it won’t hurt Skype in any serious way.

Responses

Paolo says:
January 7, 2015

What are the technical specs for ” high speed file transfer”?

How should this be better than skype or other XMPP approaches?

Thanks

Reply
    Tsahi Levent-Levi says:
    January 7, 2015

    Better than Skype is just something Kim Dotcom stated. I don’t see that happening, besides the solution being a bit more open for registrations and sign ins (being browser based).

    As for file transfer, this can be done using WebRTC’s data channel, which would beat an XMPP approach in the browser. I assume Skype sends files in P2P manner as well, so no real difference there.

    The difference here is that this service can rely on Mega, which is a storage/file sharing platform to do the file sharing itself, and by that offer the capabilities and features that are available on top of that platform besides simple file sharing.

    Reply
      Philipp Hancke says:
      January 9, 2015

      uhm, XMPP filetransfer in the browser is using webrtc datachannels…
      unless you’re talking about transferring files as base64 encoded chunks over XMPP which is a somewhat stupid idea (but works even if webrtc fails)

      Reply
Hello, Hello - What's your real story? A decode by Philipp Hancke - webrtcHacks says:
May 16, 2015

[…] have been many major WebRTC launches in the past months including Facebook and KimDotCom. Before those, Mozilla started bundling a new WebRTC calling service right into Firefox. Of course […]

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