WebRTC and the Rise of the Disposable Plugin
Plugins add friction. And friction is bad.
It is hard talking to people who don't share my enthusiasm for WebRTC. They usually bring two reasons to the table why they are unimpressed:
1. WebRTC doesn't offer any new functionality--if anything, it has less functionality
2. Downloading a plugin to a browser is easy
The new-functionality thing is true, but rather irrelevant--WebRTC brings the same functionality to MORE developers, which lowers the barrier to entry.
The downloading of a plugin factor is critical. And yet, those who won't install anything that they don't control on their own laptop will claim it is a non-issue.
When I first received my laptop it was pristine. Without any bloatware, malware or crapware. Now? I wish for the day I reinstall everything on it or just move on to the next one. Each time I get a meeting invite from another company, I learn of yet-another-enterprise-collaboration-tool-that-works-in-a-browser-and-requires-just-this-tiny-plugin-to-install. My usual reaction is a silent curse and a couple of minutes of installation. For a single meeting with this one company.
It reminds me of disposable cameras--use and throw.
Plugins add friction. And friction is bad. Especially for smaller companies looking for virality in their products. And here's where WebRTC comes in: It removes that friction--that need to add a special download page with instructions that dynamically change to show how to install the plugin for the browser the user is using at that time. (Believe me when I say it is a daunting task to define--I dealt with it in my past life.)
Skype might well be able to get away with introducing a plugin, but even Skype has its limits. Where does WebRTC shine? With off-network users.
WebRTC enables all participants to enjoy the service:
* When all of them belong to the same network and environment
* When only some of them are on the network of the service and the others are transient guests
* When all participants are transient guests
And the laptops of the participants? Left alone. Untouched. Except for the cookies on the browser.
One last note--if you are happy with browser plugins, then here's the ramifications:
Source: How-To Geek">
Now how many toolbars have you accepted to install and haven't cursed the next moment?