The technology originates from the buyout of Global IP Solutions last year. It seems that Google is thrusting that tech into the open source community, allowing for the use of the APIs by developers around the world. However, work is needed both on the WebRTCand browser end. Since Google has a vested interest in both, it’s clear that Google Chrome will be the first browser with the real-time chat capabilities.
Really, the advancement here isn’t in what can be done, but how it’s done. Previously, as noted by Clint Boulton, real-time chats required “proprietary signal processing technology delivered through plug-ins and client downloads.” That will no longer be the case, and as the WebRTC technology sees broader adoption, it’s likely that these chat features will become a standard part of many web interfaces.
Google Chrome won’t be the only browser that supports WebRTC. Much like the WebM technology, both Opera and Mozilla are on board. With Microsoft Internet Explorer, the leading browser in the world, being left off this list, it may be that one of Google’s motives is expanding the comparative capabilities of Chrome when contrasted with IE9. However, the technology also benefits Google on numerous other fronts, including in web apps. Considering the importance of high-powered web apps in the success of both the Chrome browser and Chrome OS, the improved functionality here may be motivation enough.