Free, secure video chat with Firefox Hello
[Update June 2, 2015. Firefox 38.0.5 was released today, which includes an improvement to Firefox Hello. Users engaged in a Hello conversation now have the ability to screen share an active window or tab with the other party. Free screen sharing while collaborating with colleagues is a welcome addition to Firefox Hello. Leave a comment below about what you think of the new screen sharing feature!]
Firefox Hello is a free, easy-to-use voice and video chat service included with the latest version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser. No account or sign-up is required to access and use Firefox Hello. There is no extra software download or add-on required to use it either.
First, be certain you have the latest version of Firefox installed. It goes without saying that you also need a webcam (for video chat) and a microphone (for voice chat), but we’ll say it anyway, just in case.
To connect over video with anyone no matter where they are located, launch Firefox. In the toolbar area next to the address field, click the Firefox Hello button. You can hover over the button with your mouse to see if you have the right one — the button caption says Start a conversation.
A new dialog will display within your browser window. Click the Get Started button.
A new Firefox tab/window will launch. Click the Start a conversation button in the dialog.
A new video chat window will launch. It automatically detects your computer’s webcam and microphone.
Take the opportunity to Name this conversation when prompted. You will see why later in this article. To connect with someone, you need to provide them with the unique Firefox Hello link. Click the blue Email Link button to send someone the link via email. Click the Copy Link button to place the link in your clipboard so it can be shared via text message, instant message, etc. Once the recipient clicks on the link, they are connected to you! The Hello icon will change to the color blue so you know they have arrived.
Three icons lined up across the top left of the video chat window allow you to Hang Up, Mute your video, and Mute your audio, in that order.
When you click the Firefox Hello button again, you will find a history of your previous conversations.
At this point, you realize it would have been helpful to give each conversation a unique name since the anonymous links are reusable. If you use Firefox Hello a lot, the list of previous conversations will grow to be quite lengthy. Each conversation is named Conversation 1, Conversation 2, etc., by default. Assigning your own name to each conversation when you start it will save you time later.
To restart a conversation using a link you previously shared, just click the unique hello.firefox.com link in the window. Click the blue Copy button to copy the link to your clipboard for sharing. Click the red Trash button to permanently remove the conversation from the list. You don’t need to reuse the same link each time you want to call the same person, but you can. You may create a new unique link for each new call as many time as you like.
Firefox is required to initiate Firefox Hello video chat connections, but the person you call is not required to have Firefox. They do, however, need to have a WebRTC-compatible web browser to receive your call. The list of compatible web browsers for call recipients includes Firefox, Chrome and Opera.
With regard to security and privacy, Mozilla offers that their Firefox Hello service is Safe, secure, protected:
Because Hello is built right into Firefox, you can rest easy knowing that your conversations and information will remain private and secure. That’s part of our mission, and it’s behind everything we do around here.
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