Context aware communication

On Different Web Real-Time Communication Initiatives

As you may have noted, Ericsson Labs and Google have recently made announcements related to real-time audiovisual communication in web browsers. There has been some confusion regarding what the difference is and to what extent there is a cooperation between the two companies. This short post is an attempt to bring some clarity.

Ericsson Labs offers web developers the opportunity to download a modified WebKit library that allows for experimentation with real-time audiovisual communication in a web browser using the JavaScript APIs proposed by the WhatWG . The modified WebKit library, in turn, relies on the Gstreamer multimedia framework (part of the required Ubuntu 11.04 platform) to carry out the media processing (streaming, coding, RTP, etc.).

Google's offering, on the other hand, is currently targeted at browser vendors. You can download the code that carries out the media processing which is tailored to work with the WhatWG JavaScript APIs. In other words, this code carries out the functionality for which the Ericsson Labs' WebKit library uses Gstreamer.

Both implementation targets the same specification but on different API levels. Using the WebKit library supplied by Ericsson Labs, web developers can build and test web applications supporting real-time audiovisual communication (and there is a test application available). Meanwhile the code released by Google has yet to be integrated into web browsers.

To summarize, Ericsson and Google are not carrying out any joint development related to web real-time communication, but both companies are active in, and contributing to IETF and W3C activities, together with contributions to WebKit, to bring real-time audiovisual communication capabilities to web browsers.

--Stefan Håkansson and Stefan Ålund

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