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 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:
Mega will soon release a fully encrypted and browser based video call & chat service including high-speed file transfers. Bye bye Skype 🙂
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 29, 2014
So, what do we have here?
- Fully encrypted
- Browser based
- Video call
- 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.
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?
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.