Better than Skype? Firefox Hello offers free no-account video conferencing

Mozilla is known for the Firefox browser. It’s a powerful option to anyone looking to try something other than Safari, Internet Explorer, or Chrome. Personally, I love Firefox for the built-in web developer tools (I know Chrome has them too but I just like Firefox, ok?) and for a few other key reasons.

But that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that Mozilla’s latest addition to the Firefox browser is huge. It’s not getting as much press as it probably should, to be honest. It’s called Firefox Hello and it’s perhaps the simplest way to do video conferencing you’ve ever tried.

Key Features Of Firefox Hello

  • You don’t need an account. You can create a Firefox account if you like (to save conversations, notes, etc.) but you don’t have to.
  • It’s totally free. No more Skype credits!
  • You just start a video call by clicking the smiley face in your browser and then invite people to join you. You can copy a link or email it to others. Great for sharing via social media!
  • It’s in high-definition and works quite well. I’ve tried about 8 or 9 video calls using Firefox Hello and none of them have dropped. I was on Wi-Fi the whole time but you likely will too since it’s a browser.
  • It’s incredibly simple to use. I can’t stress this enough. It’s like 1-2 clicks total.

Why It Matters

It’s like Skype without all the parts you hate. The need to have an account. The need to create a list of contacts, update your status, etc. The new Firefox Hello seems to cut away all the extra and get right down to the meat of what you want: simple video calls that anyone can access. Just click a smiley face on your browser bar, fix your hair (the video automatically starts) and then invite others.

That is it. Seriously. You don’t need to download anything other than Firefox to use the tool. It’s worth trying if you’re frustrated with Skype or Google+ Hangouts.

When Browsers Compete, Users Win.

Let’s be honest. Mozilla is battling with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, Opera, and other browsers for market share. Offering free and easy video conferencing is a great move considering the other major players offer this too.

  • Microsoft bought Skype for a reason: people need to have video calls and Skype is a popular way to make that happen.
  • Google+ Hangouts are quite good and easy enough to use. You can record and have a chat session at the same time.
  • Apple’s FaceTime is geared to smaller one-on-one conversations and works quite well if you’re on the go.
  • But up until now, Skype has been the 100-pound gorilla in the kingdom of video conferencing.

With Firefox Hello, you’re getting a high-quality competitor that has big goals: to make it even easier, simpler, and cheaper to talk to someone face-to-face online. It’s like the time of the Jetsons and we’re all one step away from flying cars.

What’s It Look Like?

Great question! Below are a few key screenshots I took that should help you better understand how Hello works and looks. As you can see, it’s basically – at the end of the day – a button and a video box. No frills, no expense, no fuss.

It’s as simple as clicking the friendly face on the top right of your browser. When you install the latest version of the browser, you’ll get the above notification.

It’s quite simple to use. As you can see from the handy guide provided by the fine folks at Mozilla Firefox.

It’s a service powered by Telefonica and looks like it’ll be getting regular updates.

And here is how it looks on my computer. Sorry about the darkness – I swear I’m not a vampire. Just some poor lighting!

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