Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

GTalk Videochat

By now, you have probably read that GMail has added video-chat to its web interface.

The blog post mentions the usual suspects: XMPP for signaling, RTP for transport and a H264/SVC codec. The implementation uses a browser plugin. Time will tell if this plugin will be bundled with Chrome (most likely) or bundled with Gears (would make sense for Google).

The Mac installer includes a meta-package with two packages: Keystone.pkg and the GoogleVoiceandVideo.pkg.

The Keystone.pkg includes the GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle that is installed at /Library/Google. Inside it has a GoogleSoftwareUpdateDaemon but so far I don't have it running on my system.

The GoogleVoiceandVideo.pkg is the real deal. It installs several things:

  • two QuickTime components, Google Camera Adapter 0 and Google Camera Adapter 1;
  • an Internet plug-in, googletalkbrowserplugin.plugin;
  • an support application.

After installation, it opened my GMail account and detected my iSight camera. I wasn't able to find someone to use it with so far, so I'll report back on the quality of the image. I expect a decent quality given the chosen codec.

I'm focusing on Codebits right now, so not much time to check out the XMPP part of this, but it seems to me that then reused the same signaling already used by the Google Talk client, nothing new there.

The big question for me is this: will other sites be able to use this plugin for their own video-chat features? I need to read the license more carefully.

As for Skype, it still has one advantage: I can use it without opening a browser on my Mac. But if I where them, I would start thinking about XMPP support and interoperability with Jingle, but thats just me.

Skype window of opportunity to be the leading XMPP client is shortening every day.