Google was already starting to compete with Skype a little, by releasing things like video chat within Gmail, but Gmail is only a small segment of people in the broader landscape of web users. Now Google is thinking bigger, and it has to, if it wants to compete directly in this space, as the company's arch rival Microsoft now owns Skype.
By bigger, that is, from the browser itself.
A little over a year ago, Google purchased Global IP Solutions (or GIPS) for $68 million. Now, they're using the technology from that in the WebRTC initiative, an open source project for third party developers to create communication apps.
"With WebRTC, we’d like to make the browser the home for innovation in real time communications," Google says. Of course, Google's browser is also its operating system.
The company says there is currently now free, hiqh quality, complete solution that enables communication in the browser, but that WebRTC enables this. The package includes audio, video, and network components.
Google is not charging for use of the technology. The code can be accessed here.
Developers don't have to release the code for their products that take advantage of the open source code.