Mozilla has added a new feature to the most recent beta build of its Firefox browser that allows users to make video calls across the web without the need for any sort of additional software or plugin.
Released today, the Hello Firefox feature has been built in partnership with operator Telefonica (a strong supporter of Firefox OS’s mobile aspirations so far) and uses the WebRTC expertise acquired with Telefonica’s purchase of TokBox in late 2012.
“Firefox Hello makes it easy to communicate with friends and family who might not have the same video chat service, software or hardware as you. It’s free to make voice and video calls and there’s no need to download software, plugins or even create an account,” Telefonica said.
The feature is scheduled to roll out over “the next few weeks” and will allow users to connect with anyone else who has a WebRTC enabled browser (including Firefox, Opera or Chrome).
Of course, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of the feature – Mozilla showed off video chat capabilities between Firefox and Chrome as early as February 2013. Earlier this year, it added some ‘experimental’ WebRTC features to its Firefox Nightly build, but this is the first time we’ve had confirmation that it will soon be making it across to the beta.
Ultimately, it should end up in the standard Firefox release that most users end up installing, which would bring a level of ubiquity that could help plugin-free calling find a mass audience.