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Google, Microsoft fight over standards to rival Apple's FaceTime

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Almost two years after Apple introduced FaceTime, Google and Microsoft are battling to introduce their own video chat acquisitions as new Internet web standards, while FaceTime remains proprietary to Apple.

FaceTime, two years later

Apple's Steve Jobs first introduced FaceTime video conferencing in June 2010 at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference as a key new feature of iPhone 4, noting at the time that Apple intended to release the technology as an open specification that other mobile vendors could license to create compatible video conferencing clients.

The company subsequently added FaceTime support to its new camera-bearing iPod touch released that September, announced that FaceTime was coming to the Mac in October (delivering it in February) and brought FaceTime to the new iPad 2 the next spring. FaceTime became so central to Apple's marketing that the company even began calling its iOS and Mac webcams "FaceTime cameras."

Now two years old, Apple's FaceTime feature has never become an openly published standard as Jobs promised it would be. While the technology is based upon a series of open standards, interoperability with third party implementations is not currently possible, for reasons described below.

Google and Microsoft are now wrangling to position two different video conferencing standards (each based on acquired video chat technologies) as open specifications with the potential to rival FaceTime. Google's is named WebRTC, while Microsoft just submitted a proposal named CU-RTC-Web.

Open standards in Apple's proprietary FaceTime

Apple has promoted the fact that it used a series of open protocols to create FaceTime: it incorporates the International Standard Organization's MPEG AAC and H.264 audio and video codecs; support for the IETF's (Internet Engineering Task Force) SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for call setup; its RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol) and SRTP (Secure RTP) for encrypted video delivery; and its ICE (Interactive Connectivity Establishment), TURN (Traversal Using Relays around NAT) and STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) for handling firewalls and NAT (Network Address Translation, which commonly used in home routers to create private IP addresses but which creates a hurdle for video chat clients).

Apple FaceTime


Despite using Internet standards to develop FaceTime, however, the detailed inner workings of the feature have never been published, neither as a privately licensed technology nor as an open standard (with or without associated licensing fees).

Individuals examining the communications FaceTime uses have learned that, among other things, the system uses Apple's own unique security system for user authentication rather than relying upon SIP's built in features.

Before ever starting a videoconferencing session, Apple checks to see if the client device can prove itself as legitimate. If it can't, it gets disconnected. Apple's FaceTime client apps are hardwired to Apple's FaceTime accounts, similar to how Google's Gmail app is optimized to only work with one type of email account: Google's.

Apple's FaceTime authentication relies upon on a client-side security key cryptographically signed by Apple, making it as impossible to create an unauthorized third party FaceTime client as it would be to create a third party App Store accessible to other iPhone users (or to force Gmail to access email directly from Microsoft's Exchange Server).

Apple's "walled garden" has walls, but it's also a garden.

In addition to having secret technological elements, FaceTime is also tied into Apple's Push Notification Server infrastructure, meaning that calls between FaceTime clients have to interact with the company's servers in order to contact other FaceTime users. In part, this is required to bridge the gap between telephone networks and Internet devices, something that existing video-telephony or PC-based video chat systems never really attempted.

As a result, FaceTime's proprietary, centralized infrastructure is conceptually similar to the instant messaging services offered by AOL, Microsoft or Yahoo, as opposed to an entirely open network like Internet email, where any vendor can set up servers that can deliver messages to other servers using established, documented protocol specifications, with no intermediary governing the entire system.

The downside to this design is that FaceTime users can't video chat with Android or Windows PC users, because third parties can't reverse engineer their own FaceTime-compatible clients, just as Android developers can't create an unauthorized client to pose questions to Siri. In both cases, Apple's servers demand security credentials and refuse connections if they aren't provided.

The upside is that FaceTime users can't be inundated with spam video-call requests or robo-calls, spoofed incoming call requests pretending to be another party, or have their calls intercepted by spies, the same way that email spam, spoofs and snooping are commonplace and difficult to guard against.

Open to whom?

Apple could certainly license FaceTime to other vendors, just as it currently licenses its proprietary, securely authenticated software protocols such as AirPlay (for a fee) or as it provides secure, encrypted access to app signatures for third party developers (as cheaply as free). So far, Apple has demonstrated no public interest in doing this (apart from Job's original promise that it eventually would).

In order to make FaceTime freely open as an interoperable technology standard, the same way Messages on iOS or OS X (n?e iChat) interoperates with any XMPP instant messaging system (such as Google Talk, Facebook, any other Jabber IM server), Apple would have to relax its authentication system to allow users to sign into and authenticate with other videoconferencing providers. This would open Pandora's Box to the spam market, just like email.

Currently, there are no real alternative video conferencing services that work similar enough to FaceTime that Apple could allow its users to connect with (certainly in part because portions of FaceTime are still a secret). But there are also far fewer potential vendors for Apple to work with than there were in 2010 when Jobs announced his plans to open FaceTime.

Since Apple's late 2010 release of FaceTime, the collapse of RIM, Palm, Nokia and Windows Mobile has dramatically shifted the mobile playing field, leaving Apple with no other significant mobile vendor to license its Internet-standards based FaceTime protocol to apart from Google's Android or (charitably) Microsoft's Windows Phone, both of which are now pursing their own competitive video chat systems.

On page 2 of 3: Microsoft's Skype, Google offers WebRTC as a FaceTime alternative

Microsoft's Skype

In May 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion to aggressively enter the video conferencing market. However, Skype is fundamentally, technologically different from FaceTime, using a wholly proprietary system of call setup, authentication and peer-to-peer transmission that is not even remotely compatible with FaceTime on any level. Trying to integrate the two would be as difficult as playing a Nintendo DS game cartridge in your car's CD player.

Microsoft already offers a third party iOS client for Skype (which existed before its acquisition), so both iOS and Mac users can use Skype, they just need to use a separate app to do so. More importantly, Skype users can't call FaceTime clients, and vice-versa.

Apple hasn't shown any interest in connecting to other non-standard video conferencing systems within FaceTime. It originally supported AIM's proprietary video chats within iChat AV on the desktop, but never extended support for AOL's proprietary video IM system to iOS. It has since lost interest in promoting interoperability with AIM users.

Apple also supported Google Talk within iChat on the Mac (via the open nature of XMPP/Jabber), but not for video conferencing from iOS. Google has also changed its strategic direction with Google Talk video conferencing, as noted below.

Google offers WebRTC as a FaceTime alternative

As with Microsoft, rather than expressing interest in FaceTime, Google has focused upon its own investment of $68.2 million in Global IP Solutions, which it announced the intention to acquire in May 2010, just weeks before Apple unveiled FaceTime. Google completed the acquisition in January 2011.

After acquiring GIPS, Google began shifting its Google Talk video conferencing strategy to the web-based, JavaScript implementation of SIP that GIPS had developed. Google calls the technology WebRTC, and introduced it to the W3C as a proposed open specification for web-based video conferencing that does not require a plugin (as Google's previous web video chat did) in June 2011.



In contrast, Apple has never relied on the web to deliver video conferencing. It has always used on native apps, first iChat on the Mac, then FaceTime on iOS, and then FaceTime on Mac. Apple has since renamed iChat on the Mac to Messages, which it maintains separately from FaceTime.

Google took GIPS's voice-optimized audio codecs (iSAC and iLBC) and added its own WebM video codec (n?e VP8) to deliver WebRTC as part of its 2010 strategy to replace H.264 web videos with its own WebM codec.

While WebRTC can technically be made to work with any video codec, including H.264, Google's own clients are naturally designed to use WebM, so any client that wants to work with Google's would have to support Google's WebM. That's of course something Apple has no interest in doing, because its iOS devices have no support for WebM hardware acceleration.

Same same, but different

Technologically, WebRTC isn't nearly as different from FaceTime as Microsoft's Skype is. Both FaceTime and WebRTC are based on SIP for call setup, use RTP for video delivery, and rely upon ICE, TURN and STUN for handling firewalls and NAT.

However, Google's WebRTC is essentially an experimental open source project being offered to web developers, not a finished product like FaceTime. This makes it more akin to Google Wave compared to Apple's Mail app: one is a complex technology erector set, the other is an easy to use, finished end-user app.

Of course, the difference is that Mail can be configured to use Google's gmail accounts; there are no equivalent "video conferencing accounts" usable with FaceTime, which is currently hardwired excessively to Apple's authentication and push notification servers.

Given Google's interest in establishing WebRTC as a browser standard and its ongoing (if stalled) efforts to substitute H.264 with WebM, it does not seem at all likely that Google would be interested in working with Apple to develop licensed FaceTime clients for the web, Chrome OS or Android.

Conversely, Apple does not appear to be interested in working with Google to provide interoperability with iOS and Macs using FaceTime, given that it has taken actions to remove Google from iOS 6 Maps, drop its iOS YouTube app, and won't even natively support Google's social networks in OS X Mountain Lion's Share Sheets.

On page 3 of 3: FaceTime, WebRTC not directly comparable; Microsoft proposes CU-RTC-Web

FaceTime, WebRTC not directly comparable

At the same time, experimental WebRTC apps can already be loaded in the web browser of Macs and iOS devices. In fact, WebRTC (just like Google's WebM) is primarily aimed at web users, so it isn't really accurate to think of its as "Android's equivalent to FaceTime."

One primary problem to real world adoption of WebRTC is that Google is working hard to push the use of its acquired codecs, which all lack hardware accelerated support on iOS devices. That means iOS devices aren't optimized to deliver WebM video, and certainly not the high quality video that FaceTime supports via its use of the advanced H.264 codec and its highly efficient on-chip encryption built into every one of the more than 300 million devices running iOS 5.

For Android, Google offers Google Talk video, voice and text chat, which is peer-to-peer technology based on Jabber (like Apple's original iChat AV). The company also provides group video chat for Android within its Google+ app (also available for iOS). This summer, the company announced it would be moving Google Talk to "Google+ Hangouts technology," in an effort to consolidate its offerings.

"Unlike the old [Google Talk] video chat," Google stated in its announcement, "which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google?s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality."

It's not clear if Google will shut down Google Talk and shift its video conferencing product for Android exclusively to Google+ but this indicates Google is interested in moving to a centralized, authenticated system more like FaceTime, but integrated with "screen sharing and integrated Google Docs collaboration," similar to iChat Theater (something that's not currently supported in FaceTime).

Apple hasn't yet revealed its hand, but it is likely to eventually add iChat Theater features (including support for screen sharing and document collaboration) to FaceTime on iOS, and potentially also bring support for proprietary instant messenger "iChat" features, including Jabber, Yahoo and AIM chat, melding Messages with FaceTime.

Microsoft proposes CU-RTC-Web as alternative to WebRTC

While Microsoft initially offered some support for the concept of WebRTC, it has recently stated that Google's submission shows "no signs of offering real world interoperability with existing VoIP phones, and mobile phones, from behind firewalls and across routers and instead focuses on video communication between web browsers under ideal conditions."

It has instead proposed its own CU-RTC-Web (Customizable, Ubiquitous Real Time Communication over the Web) specification to the W3C standards body. Microsoft's specification is based on the HTML5 getUserMedia API rather than SIP (which Microsoft claims is less suitable for use in web apps because it doesn't support stateless connections), and is intended to work with more codecs than those Google is pushing.



Unsurprisingly, Microsoft's rival submission is authored by its Skype team, including its principle architect Matthew Kaufman, whom the company describes as the "inventor of RTMFP, the most widely used browser-to-browser RTC protocol on the web."

Kaufman's Real-Time Media Flow Protocol was developed at Adobe as a peer-to-peer media distribution protocol for Flash Media Server before he joined Microsoft to work on Skype.

Microsoft's rival protocol was just introduced this week, but it may have some impact in the formation of a unified specification for video conferencing on the web if Google and other browser vendors see value in it. Microsoft had formerly voiced interest in Google's WebRTC, presumably seeing it as a potential way to deliver Skype within the browser.

Now that Microsoft has splintered off with its own technology proposal, support for Google's WebRTC remains backed by the company's own Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox and the Opera browser, the three parties who also support Google's WebM video codec.

Apple remains notably absent from the discussion surrounding WebRTC, focusing instead on delivering FaceTime via native apps on both iOS and OS X rather than attempting to deliver browser-based video conferencing.

Given that the only other significantly profitable mobile device maker is now Apple's arch-rival Samsung, it does not appear likely that Apple's FaceTime will extend widely beyond the Mac and iOS platforms any time soon, despite Jobs' initial assurance that Apple would aggressively license the technology to promote it as the world's standard for video conferencing.
post #2 of 45

Or maybe Apple could open up FaceTime so that we ACTUALLY HAVE JUST ONE SYSTEM BEING USED UNLIKE FRIGGING ICHAT WHERE EVERYONE SAID, "NOPE, NOT GONNA BE COMPATIBLE!" AND SKYPE DID THEIR OWN THING MAKING A BUNCH OF WORTHLESS, INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS.

 

These morons don't want to use the standards that Apple sets because they don't like being told what to do. My response to that is, "how about actually being the first to make something worth using, then?"

 

Same with USB at first, same with Thunderbolt.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Or maybe Apple could open up FaceTime so that we ACTUALLY HAVE JUST ONE SYSTEM BEING USED UNLIKE FRIGGING ICHAT WHERE EVERYONE SAID, "NOPE, NOT GONNA BE COMPATIBLE!" AND SKYPE DID THEIR OWN THING MAKING A BUNCH OF WORTHLESS, INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS.

 

These morons don't want to use the standards that Apple sets because they don't like being told what to do. My response to that is, "how about actually being the first to make something worth using, then?"

 

Same with USB at first, same with Thunderbolt.

I agree. To simplify things Apple should just open up Facetime and offer it as a standard. Problem solved

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post #4 of 45

Informative and interesting article. Thank you.

post #5 of 45

I think it became apparent very quickly that people were buying iOS devices so they could Facetime with other iOS users, and all incentive to open the standard was lost.  Now Google and Microsoft are investigating their own options.  

 

The whole thing reeks of the old-school instant messenger war where no one really won.  SMS swept in and made the whole battle irrelevant.  History is starting to repeat.  The only question is will they keep fighting over this until all their options are completely irrelevant, or will they all come to some sort of agreement.

 

Time will tell

post #6 of 45

With the proviso that everyone that uses it has an iTunes account...tied to hardware... (which is the big spam killer.)

 

I could see it available to PCs if the PC allowed access to the Intel CPUID (forces users to enable if they want 'face'.)

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post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

These morons don't want to use the standards that Apple sets because they don't like being told what to do.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I agree. To simplify things Apple should just open up Facetime and offer it as a standard. Problem solved

 

Perhaps neither of you actually read the article?  The issue here isn't that Apple has provided a beautiful, open-starndard that everyone else refuses to use.  The issue is that Apple's server implementation doesn't allow for anything but Apple devices, with cryptographically signed keys, to connect.  Allowing Android and MS devices would mean allowing anyone to call anyone - thus introducing the horrendous issue of spam that plagues our "ever so clever" email systems.

post #8 of 45

Meet Skype the new Flash

 

By default Skype is the winner because they already have the largest market share of mobile and desktop video chat client.

 

BTW MS owns Skype.

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post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcode View Post

 

 

 

Perhaps neither of you actually read the article?  The issue here isn't that Apple has provided a beautiful, open-starndard that everyone else refuses to use.  The issue is that Apple's server implementation doesn't allow for anything but Apple devices, with cryptographically signed keys, to connect.  Allowing Android and MS devices would mean allowing anyone to call anyone - thus introducing the horrendous issue of spam that plagues our "ever so clever" email systems.

Of course I read it. Apple themselves said Facetime would be open-sourced when they introduced it. They just never did what they said they would, forcing other OS's to create their own solutions. It's not too late for Apple to follow-thru.

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post #10 of 45

When they introduced FaceTime Jobs said they were going to let other phones use the standard as they wanted it to be everywhere. What happened?

post #11 of 45

bottom line, unless Apple creates FaceTime apps for Android and Windows too it's an Apple-ecosystem-only sideshow - another "hobby." to really succeed with wide-spread adoption, a communication system MUST be cross-platform. and Just Work.

 

and people get Skype mainly to make cheap phone calls of course, something worthwhile - like Google Voice too - that Apple doesn't offer at all. i think that is a real mistake on Apple's part.

 

(but it was absurd for MS to pay $8.5B for Skype. what idiots.)

post #12 of 45
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
I agree. To simplify things Apple should just open up Facetime and offer it as a standard. Problem solved
Originally Posted by bcode View Post
The issue is that Apple's server implementation doesn't allow for anything but Apple devices, with cryptographically signed keys, to connect.

 

But… 

Originally Posted by dmarcoot View Post
When they introduced FaceTime Jobs said they were going to let other phones use the standard as they wanted it to be everywhere. What happened?

 

Exactly! I could have sworn I remembered that, too! 

 

Allowing Android and MS devices would mean allowing anyone to call anyone - thus introducing the horrendous issue of spam that plagues our "ever so clever" email systems.

 

I don't get it… this is FaceTime. You're telling me that we'll start to see spam VIDEO calls where we just see a telemarketer sitting in his cubicle as he tries to sell us crap? Do you seriously think that this would ever happen for any reason ever? That isn't going to happen, and if it were, it would be happening now with the current slew of FaceTime products, both mobile AND desktop!

 

And if it did happen, I'd probably introduce Mr. Telemarketer to Mr. Absurdly Disgusting Picture I Found On The Internet.

 

Or, what, you think that there would be phone sex operators moving to FaceTime ca… wait, that's probably an existing industry, isn't it?

 

Originally Posted by mstone View Post
Meet Skype the new Flash

 

I like that. I hope something does happen to take down Skype, because I refuse to use an interface so terrible, and yet most of the people I once knew use. 

Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Meet Skype the new Flash

 

By default Skype is the winner because they already have the largest market share of mobile and desktop video chat client.

 

BTW MS owns Skype.

the new flash is firewire

post #14 of 45
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post
the new flash is firewire

 

Stop just saying words, please.

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post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Meet Skype the new Flash

 

By default Skype is the winner because they already have the largest market share of mobile and desktop video chat client.

 

BTW MS owns Skype.

 

Good analogy.  Skype is much like Flash.  A crappy interim solution until a superior, industry accepted solution comes a long.

post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
Do you seriously think that this would ever happen for any reason ever? That isn't going to happen, and if it were, it would be happening now with the current slew of FaceTime products, both mobile AND desktop!

 

Try to think critically about this before posting such ludicrous things.

 

No, you're right.  Why would a company want to call millions of people, with the ability to show them fancy images and rolling video while trying to sell them something?  For free, I might add.  Have you never heard of Telemarketers?

 

At least current Telemarketers have to pay for absurdly high phone bills to call half of the country -- imagine if they could call you for free.

 

Yes, this would happen.  It would happen overnight.  And no, it's not happening right now, because Apple doesn't allow just anyone to start randomly "dialling" millions of different email addresses (reason #4,961 why Apple's implementations are always better than everyone else's -- they think about these things).

post #17 of 45

I wait for an AI article about ISPs policy about FaceTime 3G.

post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I like that. I hope something does happen to take down Skype, because I refuse to use an interface so terrible, and yet most of the people I once knew use. 

I don't see your point. There is nothing so terrible about the interface in my opinion. I use it all the time. Are you sure your hatred for Skype doesn't stem from some other personal bias.

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post #19 of 45

So, Apple, make a FaceTime app for Android and Windows, and then you can still control access while opening up and making FaceTime the de facto industry standard - maybe make the requirement for it to work be that the individual set up an iCloud account...

post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mytdave View Post

So, Apple, make a FaceTime app for Android and Windows, and then you can still control access while opening up and making FaceTime the de facto industry standard - maybe make the requirement for it to work be that the individual set up an iCloud account...

 

Now that's a good idea.

post #21 of 45

One other relevant aspect of FaceTime being closed: it has rapidly evolved over the past two years in order to 1) first get established 2) begin working on the phone-free iPod touch 3) interconnect with Mac desktop systems. 

 

Opening a standard and then changing it quickly has bad results. Look at Android fragmentation, where different clients all have different API versions. With FaceTime, I think Apple progressively lost its incentive to make it a standard even as it rapidly began developing it to the point where it would make sense to license. 

 

And of course, the point of the article is that after spending millions (Google) or BILLIONS (Microsoft), the two primary potential licensees left are not exactly interested in dropping what they're doing to adopt FaceTime.

 

There's also no real business model supporting either Apple-created FaceTime clients for Android, Windows, WP7 and so on (how will Apple make money giving away free iCloud accounts?), nor really any third party implementations of FaceTime. Apple really only needed FaceTime to become a standard if there wouldn't have been substantial adoption otherwise.

 

Recall that since 2010, iPhone 4 went on to sell as many units as every previous iPhone generation had (more than anyone, including Apple, had predicted); iPod touch added millions, and the iPad put FaceTime on +60 million more devices. And ~40 million Macs. No real need to get Nokia's 10 million WP7 devices on board to make it viable.

post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Stop just saying words, please.

usb 3.0 > firewire

 

Glad apple included it in their latest MBA even though its supported natively.

post #23 of 45

The Tension is that if Apple doesn't control the end device, it can't be judge jury and executioner on abuses (send kill code... now. buh bye.), all the open sourcing the 'juicy bits' of authentication just exposes their walled garden, and allows someone else to make something at good.

 

I don't like apple baiting and switching on the open source stuff, but in reality, there is no logical market for this.  Skype controls the low end, and I don't think Apple wants Android to be 'built in compatible' with Facetime.  What's the value add?

post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Or maybe Apple could open up FaceTime so that we ACTUALLY HAVE JUST ONE SYSTEM BEING USED UNLIKE FRIGGING ICHAT WHERE EVERYONE SAID, "NOPE, NOT GONNA BE COMPATIBLE!" AND SKYPE DID THEIR OWN THING MAKING A BUNCH OF WORTHLESS, INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS.

These morons don't want to use the standards that Apple sets because they don't like being told what to do. My response to that is, "how about actually being the first to make something worth using, then?"

Same with USB at first, same with Thunderbolt.

I don't think you can blame Skype or the third parties on this one. When Apple introduced FaceTime, they promised that they would release it as an open standard. To my knowledge, they have never done so.

Now, it's possible that Apple has offered it to third parties and they have refused to accept it, but I've never seen anything even suggesting that. If that were true, though, then you could blame the third parties. But if Apple failed to make it available for licensing, you'd have to blame Apple.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mytdave View Post

So, Apple, make a FaceTime app for Android and Windows, and then you can still control access while opening up and making FaceTime the de facto industry standard - maybe make the requirement for it to work be that the individual set up an iCloud account...

That's a good idea, too. However, I'm not sure I see Apple doing it because of the fragmentation and zillions of different phones they'd have to support.
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post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
You're telling me that we'll start to see spam VIDEO calls where we just see a telemarketer sitting in his cubicle as he tries to sell us crap?

You're taking video conferencing entirely too literally.

 

It's just a video stream. Any video stream. Ever hear of a tv commercial? It's a video stream. Pictures, graphics, voiceover. Selling you something.

 

A pre-recorded voice chat, if you will. Much like a pre-recorded telemarketer over the phone.

post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I don't get it… this is FaceTime. You're telling me that we'll start to see spam VIDEO calls where we just see a telemarketer sitting in his cubicle as he tries to sell us crap? Do you seriously think that this would ever happen for any reason ever? That isn't going to happen...

 

Well... it happens today on Skype. Do a Google search for "Skype Urgent Notification".

post #27 of 45
This article is ok, but the author does not have any understanding of video calling beyond the vendors noted in the article. The idea that Apple could only benefit by licensing FaceTime to mobile vendors misses the whole VoIP and Telepresence/Video markets. A market that is already compatible with FaceTime where it counts. This is exactly Microsoft's point when mentioning VoIP. Don't get me wrong, not a fan of Microsoft or Skype. Microsoft is opening Skype to Lync, but they are almost as bad as Apple, but at least they never promised interop.

Apple needs to open this up. Of course they have to clean up the FaceTime addressing to not use addressing that is owned by other companies, ISPs, etc by forcing all address they route to be in one of their domains. Because of Steve's public promise, I'm pretty sure they are going to have to do it. I thought of how to force the issue in the US and EU while reading this article and will have to look into getting the ball rolling.

Video calling is awesome, but it needs to be as ubiquitous with full interop with existing voice. Having a SIP address that anyone on the planet can call in HD is great. It just sucks that these islands exist where they should not.

Want a free open standards HD soft client, free address, free registration, to call other standards based clients including the highest-end Telepresence systems?

Http://www.ciscojabbervideo.com

Not a commercial, just an option to try out an open standards service. Oh, pretty sure you can use the service with their iPad client too.
Edited by Phone-UI-Guy - 8/7/12 at 11:44am
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Want a free open standards HD soft client, free address, free registration, to call other standards asked clients including the highest-end Telepresence systems?
Http://www.ciscojabbervideo.com

I have only used Skype. Do any other platforms support txt, IM, phone calls to actual phone #, virtual phone #, video, file transfers, image attachments, busy, away messages, avatars, slogans/taglines, address books, support for all OS, conference calls, and all the other features that are supported within the single Skype application?

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post #29 of 45

Facetime being tied to Apple hardware makes it a non starter. Apple is not even in this discussion unless they open up facetime. 

Google talk/hangouts (whatever they call it now), and Skype although are islands, they are Islands with multiple bridges that allow you access. 

Facetime is even a non starter for most of Apple products. I bet skype usage Kills facetime usage on Apple products. 

 

When your competitors are on every connected internet device and with a feature like video chat, you can't win. Facetime will never be competative with the likes of Skype, Google video chat, and facebook video chat (skype), and oovoo. Facetime is a non starter it should not be in the conversation until it provides access to its island. 

 

You know how ridiculous facetime is? Imagine is Apple only allowed voice phone calls to only apple users. Or gmail users being able to send emails to other gmail users. 

 

Playing gate keeper with communication without the vast majority market share= slow death. Facetime does not stand a chance. 

post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I have only used Skype. Do any other platforms support txt, IM, phone calls to actual phone #, virtual phone #, video, file transfers, image attachments, busy, away messages, avatars, slogans/taglines, address books, support for all OS, conference calls, and all the other features that are supported within the single Skype application?

The only thing close to chat is gmail/gtalk. You can't seperate the two. 

post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Want a free open standards HD soft client, free address, free registration, to call other standards asked clients including the highest-end Telepresence systems?
Http://www.ciscojabbervideo.com
I have only used Skype. Do any other platforms support txt, IM, phone calls to actual phone #, virtual phone #, video, file transfers, image attachments, busy, away messages, avatars, slogans/taglines, address books, support for all OS, conference calls, and all the other features that are supported within the single Skype application?

My bad. I didn't realize Skype had become the MySpace of video clients. High-quality, low-latency video calling is not for you.
post #32 of 45
Originally Posted by bcode View Post

Why would a company want to call millions of people, with the ability to show them fancy images and rolling video while trying to sell them something?

 

That can't be done with FaceTime in the first place, can it?


…it's not happening right now, because Apple doesn't allow just anyone to start randomly "dialing" millions of different email addresses…

 

Can't it just dial out to anyone whose address/number reports as being set up with FaceTime? How is that hard to automate?

 

Originally Posted by mstone View Post
Are you sure your hatred for Skype doesn't stem from some other personal bias.

 

I'm certain.

 

Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post
usb 3.0 > firewire

 

Thunderbolt >> USB 3.


Originally Posted by bikertwin View Post
It's just a video stream. Any video stream. Ever hear of a tv commercial? It's a video stream. Pictures, graphics, voiceover. Selling you something.

 

A pre-recorded voice chat, if you will. Much like a pre-recorded telemarketer over the phone.

 

How am I supposed to do that with FaceTime right now, if that's even possible?


Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post

I bet skype usage Kills facetime usage on Apple products.

 

Hasn't so far. Guess that's that.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcode View Post

 

Try to think critically about this before posting such ludicrous things.

 

No, you're right.  Why would a company want to call millions of people, with the ability to show them fancy images and rolling video while trying to sell them something?  For free, I might add.  Have you never heard of Telemarketers?

 

At least current Telemarketers have to pay for absurdly high phone bills to call half of the country -- imagine if they could call you for free.

 

Yes, this would happen.  It would happen overnight.  And no, it's not happening right now, because Apple doesn't allow just anyone to start randomly "dialling" millions of different email addresses (reason #4,961 why Apple's implementations are always better than everyone else's -- they think about these things).

 

Add Facetime over 3G and there goes your monthly bandwidth damn fast

post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


My bad. I didn't realize Skype had become the MySpace of video clients. High-quality, low-latency video calling is not for you.

Skype is fine for me. The only quality issues I notice are related to network bandwidth.  The video looks great and the audio is perfectly in sync if you have a good high speed connection. I do use a lot of the integrated features also. Overall I think it works well. I am sure there are higher quality video chat clients but I don't need any better video. The main thing is that all my contacts abroad use Skype so what good would a higher quality video client be if I had no one to talk to. I don't need perfection in video I need adequate video with ubiquity of platform. 

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcode View Post

Why would a company want to call millions of people, with the ability to show them fancy images and rolling video while trying to sell them something?

That can't be done with FaceTime in the first place, can it?
Quote:
…it's not happening right now, because Apple doesn't allow just anyone to start randomly "dialing" millions of different email addresses…

Can't it just dial out to anyone whose address/number reports as being set up with FaceTime? How is that hard to automate?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Are you sure your hatred for Skype doesn't stem from some other personal bias.

I'm certain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

usb 3.0 > firewire

Thunderbolt >> USB 3.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertwin View Post

It's just a video stream. Any video stream. Ever hear of a tv commercial? It's a video stream. Pictures, graphics, voiceover. Selling you something.

A pre-recorded voice chat, if you will. Much like a pre-recorded telemarketer over the phone.

How am I supposed to do that with FaceTime right now, if that's even possible?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post

I bet skype usage Kills facetime usage on Apple products.

Hasn't so far. Guess that's that.


You can use any video you want for FaceTime today on the Mac client as long as the device looks like a compatible camera. Even if it is a FireWire camera playing back a pre-recoded video. I would also fully expect you can script calling of FaceTime with AppleScript to complete the solution. If Apple doesn't open FaceTime it isn't the end of the world since the hardware can just run other software. It would just be a truly consumer friendly action to live up to their promise.
post #36 of 45
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post
You can use any video you want for FaceTime today on the Mac client as long as the device looks like a compatible camera. Even if it is a FireWire camera playing back a pre-recoded video.

 

Ah! That's actually pretty cool. Thanks; I didn't know that.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #37 of 45

This is Apple's fault for not opening up FaceTime. They should've done that by now. 

post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

My bad. I didn't realize Skype had become the MySpace of video clients. High-quality, low-latency video calling is not for you.
Skype is fine for me. The only quality issues I notice are related to network bandwidth.  The video looks great and the audio is perfectly in sync if you have a good high speed connection. I do use a lot of the integrated features also. Overall I think it works well. I am sure there are higher quality video chat clients but I don't need any better video. The main thing is that all my contacts abroad use Skype so what good would a higher quality video client be if I had no one to talk to. I don't need perfection in video I need adequate video with ubiquity of platform. 

Ubiquity of platform is the issue with all of these vendors in the article. That is why people would benifit from open standards interop. Your experience sounds reasonable. The one thing you cited about network bandwidth is part of the point. Great clients can do some fantastic things to minimize and sometimes even eliminate the issues as compared to Ok clients under the same conditions. One example is that a higher quality camera will introduce less noise in the video. The less noise means more efficiency is possible in the encoding. Efficient encoding means less bandwidth is actually required. The encoding can be more efficient in the software or hardware client as a seperate factor as well. These clients can also employ various techniques to conceal problems, adapt to network conditions, etc. So the quality of client/endpoint has a great deal to do with the overall quality of your conversations. Even though Skype quality has improved, it is very easy to beat.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

This is Apple's fault for not opening up FaceTime. They should've done that by now. 

Those are actually two seperate issues. The proposed standards are for web based calling within a browser (think W3C). Opening FaceTime for standards based interop just puts more muscle behind having standards based video in browsers. Google's proposal is by far the best and closest aligned to standards. Of course their codec selection is the only real problem with it. H.264 is the codec that needs to be used to make the feature more than a political statement about royalties for codecs and hatred for Apple.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


Ubiquity of platform is the issue with all of these vendors in the article. That is why people would benifit from open standards interop. 

Interoperability might be good for end users but companies have very little to gain from it unless they have a really small market share. Then Interoperability is to their advantage. Skype already has the largest market share so they have absolutely no motivation to open their code or adopt open standards. Apple seems to be rethinking that situation as well right now. When they first launched FaceTime, they had close to zero percent of the video chat market so offering to open source the protocol seemed like a good idea. Now that they have such a strong foothold in the mobile space the thought of giving away one of their distinct marketing advantages doesn't make much sense. I get the feeling they will renege on their original promise.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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