Google yesterday pushed forward a significant update for Chrome for Android beta that will bring video chatting capabilities without the need for a plugin or extraneous application.
Developers will be able to create real-time communications applications with the WebRTC API, which Google says:
.…consists of three independent components: getUserMedia, which provides access to the user’s webcam and microphone; PeerConnection, which sets up calls with the ability to traverse NATs and firewalls; and DataChannels, which establishes peer-to-peer data communication between browsers.
These three features have been enabled in desktop Chrome for a while, and [yesterday’s] release adds support in Chrome for Android.”
As mentioned, the feature lets you use the camera and microphone on your mobile device to video chat without any need for third-party plugins. When you visit a particular site, it will request that you give it permission, and then you’ll be able to have a window-in-window chat with another individual. If you don’t have anyone to chat with, you can still test the functionality for yourself.
Oddly, when I tried out the feature with my colleague Peter Bright, the video made me look like a character from Avatar. It’s possible that may be an issue with my handset, which is a Samsung Galaxy S III, but it also could be a bug with Chrome beta. Regardless, when I tried the capability with the Galaxy S 4, the video quality fared much better (you can see it in the screenshot above).
You can try it for yourself by downloading Chrome beta for Android and then visiting this link.
Google also added a Web Audio API for processing and synthesizing Audio, which you can check out with this neat MIDI synth player. Additionally, yesterday's Chrome beta update included general under-the-hood improvements to help page loading time, stability, and performance.