Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Imo has become the first consumer messaging service to implement the WebRTC standard for its cross-platform video calls.
WebRTC has reached a relatively stable state in Chrome, Firefox and Opera, but it has yet to see widespread adoption. The project is designed to add advanced real-time communication capabilities, and even file sharing, to browsers without the need of plugins.
Imo’s WebRTC integration allows Web-based users of the product to easily initiate and receive video calls from friends, regardless of what platform they’re on. A test call I tried on the service came through seamlessly and looked great from within my Chrome tab.
Here’s a screenshot of some good-looking people using Imo for a WebRTC video call:
According to Imo engineer Patrick Horn, 90 percent of the messaging service’s users have compatibility with WebRTC. He also noted that Imo has the flexibility to try out new technologies because it’s a smaller company.
Imo’s deepened investment in video calling comes as existing players have left an opening in the market. Since going over to Microsoft, the quality of Skype’s service seems to have declined. Meanwhile, Apple hasn’t done much to push its FaceTime standard as of late.
Where younger startups have pursued mobile-only messaging strategies, Imo has stuck to a cords-platform model. The company also avoids the silos often found in mobile apps by allowing you to message across other services like Google Hangouts and Facebook.
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