In the post-roll after last week’s VUC call I was able to invite Andy to join me in trying Talky a relatively new WebRTC– based video calling service from &Yet. The service is very interesting as is the company itself. I heartily recommend their blog.
Talky supports screen sharing from within Chrome, given that a configuration change is made prior to starting the session. What it lacks is any kind of text chat.
As we were poking around at various bits of the application I noticed the camera icon appearing in the address bar. This was something the we’d not seen previously, and turns out to be profoundly useful.
Clicking on this icon revealed settings for audio and video device selection!
The inability to control device selection has been one of this biggest problems in my experimentation with WebRTC based services. My desktop PC has a BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro capture card as well as a number of USB attached audio & video devices.
Until this point many services used the first device in all cases. In the case of a laptop that might be adequate, since there’s just one camera, microphone and speakers. In the case of my desktop that meant that they would pick the Intensity Pro card over any of my cameras, with no way for an end-user to change the device.
I’m given to understand that this new device selection capability is a function of the latest release of Chrome. Mr Tsahi Levent-Levi further points to release notes indicating that device selection is possible without restarting the browser or even the WebRTC session.
This could be a huge leap forward in WebRTC usability.