Google-Chrome-13-logoGoogle plans to add real-time communications abilities into the Chrome browser, according to an announcement on Google’s Chromium-dev group. Using its own WebRTC project at its base, the company will attempt to enable real-time communications through Chrome and then, potentially, other browsers like Firefox and Opera.

Having voice and video calling through a web browser would eliminate the need for a stand-alone program like Skype, the current leader in worldwide video calling. Users would instead be able to use Web-based apps to make video calls.

“Our goal is to enable Chrome with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs,” Henrik Andreasson, a Google programmer, wrote on Friday. “We are working hard to provide full RTC support in Chrome all the way from WebKit down to the native audio and video parts.”

If possible, Google wants the open-source WebRTC protocols to be integrated into all Web browsers, which would enable developers—or even Google itself—to build voice and video chat programs directly into those browsers. It will first add WebRTC to Chrome, then work with allies like Mozilla and Opera to add those programs to their respective browsers.

Google already offers video and voice chat through its Gmail Web mail service, so any Gmail user on any browser can voice or video call other Gmail users. But this would take the concept further by adding real-time abilities to the browser and open the possibilities to new types of Web apps and video services.

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