Microsoft's expensive acquisition of Skype worried the free software community that Microsoft may gradually end the support for GNU/Linux platform. The situation was aggravated by the fact that there is as huge void of a top-class open source voice and video chat software.
Microsoft's Skype acquisition was a great opportunity for the community to built an alternative. Projects like Firefox, Thunderbird, Android, Chrome and VLC have proved that Free Software can be far superior to proprietary if it gets good funding and marketing. There was no doubt that an Skype-like client can be easily developed -- all it needs is desire, funding and marketing.
Out of nowhere came the giant which has time and again proved that the world is a better place with free software or open source. After the release of WebM and WebP as open source technologies to free the web from proprietary or patent incumbent, Google has now announced WebRTC.
WebRTC is an open technology for voice and video on the web. Google said on its webRTC page, "Until now, real time communications required the use of proprietary signal processing technology that was mostly delivered through plug-ins and client downloads."
According to an Opera blog, "Web RTC is about defining client-side APIs to enable Real-Time Communications in Web browsers."
While the free software community can take the free code and develop Skype-like services, Google is definitely targeting the ChromeBook and Facebook. With WebRTC, Google can add in-built realtime audio/video chatting feature to its rumoured social networking service.
Google will now work with other major browsers such as Mozilla and Opera to implement this technology for use by the broader web community.