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WebRTC to thump Skype and WhatsApp

A free browser-based open project aims to make audio and video as seamless as browsing text and images with Real-Time Capabilities (RTC), changing the way we communicate.

WebRTC, a proposed Internet standard, allows anyone to embed real-time voice, data and video communications into browsers with no need to download an app, toppling online chat services like Skype or WhatsApp.

WebRTC was adopted by Mozilla and Opera Software after being championed by Google. In October, Microsoft committed to including a version of WebRTC on its Internet Explorer browser, with Apple being the only one to hold off. 

Employing simple JavaScript APIs and HTML5, WebRTC users can start a video call just by sending someone a link. WebRTC plans on adding video and audio into an array of products and services including GoPro cameras to ATMs and augmented reality glasses.

"The promise is fantastic, but there's always a problem with timing, between dream and reality," Alexandre Gouaillard, chief technology officer at Singapore start-up Temasys, told Reuters.

Consultants predict that the market worth of WebRTC will be $4.7bn by 2018, with more than two billion people using it by 2019 – 60 per cent of the anticipated Internet population.

Although already existing apps offer the same technological capabilities – such as Movirtu, which allows voices calls over Wi-Fi – WebRTC opens up new possibilities for the ways we communicate.

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