If you’re new to WebRTC, Jitsi was the first open source Selective Forwarding Unit (SFU) and continues to be one of the most popular WebRTC platforms. They were in the news last week because their parent group inside Atlassian was sold off to Slack but the team clarified this does not have any impact on the Jitsi team. Helping to show they are still chugging along, they released a new feature they wanted to talk about – off-stage layer suspension. This is a technique for minimizing bandwidth and CPU consumption when using simulcast. Simulcast is a common technique used in multi-party video scenarios. See Oscar Divorra’s post on this topic and that Fippo post just last week for more on that. Even if you are not implementing a simulcast, this is a good post for understanding how to control bandwidth and to see some follow-along reverse-engineering on how Google does things in its Hangouts upgrade called Meet.
As the year 2017 comes to an end, there was a small present. Hangouts started to support Firefox with WebRTC instead of rejecting access – plugin access had been unavailable since Firefox 53 removed NPAPI in April 2017. While it had been public for a while that the Firefox WebRTC team had been testing this, it was a nice Christmas present to see this shipped. Tsahi Levent-Levi was one of the first people to notice.
This comes at a time where other Google teams are being criticized for promoting Chrome-only experiences. Kudos to the Hangouts team for showing that you still care about the web as an open platform!
webrtcH4cKS: ~ How does Hangouts use WebRTC? webrtc-internals analysis
Update: Philipp continues to reverse engineer Hangouts using chrome://webrtc-internals. Please see the bottom section for new analysis he just put together in the past couple of days based on Chrome 38.
As initiators and major drivers of WebRTC, Google was often given a hard time for not supporting WebRTC in its core collaboration product. This recently changed when WebRTC support for Hangouts was added with Chrome 36.
So obviously we wanted to check out how this worked. We also were curious to see how a non-googler could make some practical use of chrome://webrtc-internals. Soon thereafter I came across a message from Philipp Hancke (aka Hornsby Cornflower) saying he had already starting looking at the new WebRTC hangouts with webrtc-internals. Fortunately I was able to convince him to share his findings and thorough analysis.