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Creating and Collaborating with Media in Firefox

kkim
Employee
Employee

Hey, all!

I'm Karen Kim, and I'm a product manager. I'm excited to chat about Firefox Media and Videoconferencing with you on Mozilla Connect! Our goal is to build towards more modern web experiences, and we'd LOVE your feedback on what's most important to you when you go online and choose to use a browser. So, to kick things off...

How can we help you create and collaborate with media in Firefox?

Some food for thought:

  • "When I hop into a video chat, I value the following features..."
  • How can we help you brainstorm with coworkers/friends on the Web?
  • What could we do to make an online whiteboarding experience better?
  • How can we best support your content creation, including livestreaming?

Thanks so much for your time and ideas!

28 REPLIES 28

Guest
Making moves

a lot of video chat platforms don't support Firefox. some don't support browsers at all. some secretly support connecting from within a browser, but you have to download their client anyway and then cancel the download just to get the button for connecting from within the browser. could this be better somehow?

I want to be able to talk in meetings, but my laptop came with a built in camera. I don't want to use my camera. but the permission dialog gives me a single allow/deny for both. it's a much bigger hassle to allow only one. could this be better?

I sometimes want to screen share during calls. but I've been using a Wayland desktop environment, and I keep having to log out and log back in with Xorg to get anything other than a black rectangle. could this be better?

sometimes I'm watching someone's screen share in Google meet, and the text is too small. and if I zoom in (Ctrl+=) it only makes the surrounding UI bigger, and the video actually gets smaller. I feel like maybe if I could zoom in the way it works on mobile, where it just looks at that part of a page without affecting the layout, that would let me read the video.

Thank you for the solid feedback, @Guest! A huge YEP to your point on video chat platforms. We're running partner outreach with some of them so that there's more public Firefox support--Microsoft Teams is one of them coming soon! We know how important video chat is to our users, and we're working on improving the experience with more choices.

re: permission dialog and Wayland desktop screen share, will consult the respective teams to see how we could improve this.

We're currently working on improvements to the Google Meet experience on Firefox, and I strongly agree with you -- zooming in should be working as expected with layout, especially for screen share. I'll check in with the team and our partners to see how we could get this fixed! Thank you for flagging!

@Guest, re: the Wayland desktop screen share, it might be easier to file a bug on bugzilla.com. If you can reproduce the black rectangle with a step-by-step list or (even better) a screen-recorded reproduction, that'll go straight to our engineers' hands for a look! 

Guest
Making moves

might already be filed, not sure https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1672944

Thank you! From the looks of it, it's a protocols issue - will check with our WebRTC team.


@Guest wrote:

I want to be able to talk in meetings, but my laptop came with a built in camera. I don't want to use my camera. but the permission dialog gives me a single allow/deny for both. it's a much bigger hassle to allow only one. could this be better?


A browser button for a webcam and microphone that acts like a physical switch and turns them off without denying the permission? Omg you're genius!

 


@Guest wrote:

sometimes I'm watching someone's screen share in Google meet, and the text is too small. and if I zoom in (Ctrl+=) it only makes the surrounding UI bigger, and the video actually gets smaller. I feel like maybe if I could zoom in the way it works on mobile, where it just looks at that part of a page without affecting the layout, that would let me read the video.


Sounds like a page layout issue - fixed elements resize okay and the video element, being responsively sized gets smaller.

If you are working on a laptop you can pinch the touchpad to actually zoom the page instead of scaling the layout. I guess Mozilla could give access to this feature for people without touchscreens and touchpads too.

jack1
Making moves

Making a built-in notes feature would be helpful, it's helpful for when you want to take a note of something said in a meeting or online class.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/notes-by-firefox/ exists, but syncing doesn't work. There are other add-ons for making notes, but I don't know if I should trust them.

Thank you for bringing this up, @jack1! Note-taking tools are key, and I can understand the frustration with the lack of sync capabilities. We're focusing on making these experiences more seamless, so your feedback is super helpful.

If I can ask, what's your current workaround to take notes from meetings/classes?

jack1
Making moves

When I need to take a note, I write them on a paper or a text editor.

Thanks for sharing! 😊 We want to provide more experiences where our users can collaborate and annotate in peace and safety - even better when those capabilities can just happen within Firefox. This is a solid idea, and I'll bring it up in our next round of product planning!

lovelyjubbly
Making moves

When videoconferencing I have multiple audio output (laptop speakers, audio over HDMI, bluetooth headset).  I also have multiple audio input (laptop mic, headset mic).  I also have cameras (laptop camera, USB camera).  During videoconferencing in browsers my main panic is always a jumble along the lines of knowing which of these many devices is in use and how — is my mic muted? which mic is being used? I don't know how to switch‽ which speakers are being used? hopefully it's my headset! how do I check? hope there isn't any feedback? is my camera on or off? wait I need to turn it on.  

I think I have to click the little camera icon in the address bar but in the moment when there are people staring, and I'm amplifying the stares as impatience, it's not an obvious thing, because I don't videoconference in a browser very often.

(Ubuntu 20.04)

 

 

Thank you for sharing your experience and thought process, @lovelyjubbly! (And thank you for sharing which distribution you use! Super helpful for us to zoom in.) The device scramble is painfully real -- our job is to make videoconferencing easier to navigate, not harder!

Can you let me know which videoconferencing platform you tend to use, on and off-browser? Would love to go over your workflow together step by step when you start or join a video call.

The little camera icon in the address bar helps with permissions for previously designated devices, but it's still hard to tell which. We'll keep this feedback in mind moving forward as we dig deeper into optimizing the experience in Firefox!

@lovelyjubblyby the by, we're improving support for input switching on calls, starting with Firefox 101. Output switching support is coming in a few more releases! If you'd like to test it out in our Nightly and eventually Beta channels, please give feedback on our Media Matrix channel.

Does it support input testing (like volume level testing for mic, webcam view, etc, to check the right inputs before actually committing input changes for the page). That isn't really necessary, but would be really neat.

Mte90
Making moves

As example in a website where the microphone is requested but is blocked by the browser website panel in the URL add an alert.

Often I have blocked the microphone for all the website but I forgot to turn on the permission but Firefox is not reminding to me, sometimes the application in the page inform about it but is not something that is in everyone.

Maybe an alert that check also if the microphone is used and the page is blocked to access it.

Thank you, @Mte90! This is super helpful feedback, and we definitely want to be clearer with our user messaging. Sensing a theme here that we'll be addressing with videoconferencing improvements planning in the near-future. 😄 

filloBuccia
Making moves

Google Meet doesn't support some options for Firefox Browser, like tab sharing (with audio included) and customized background

Yep, thanks for the feedback, @filloBuccia! We definitely want to improve our users' Google Meet experience. We currently have bugs around tab sharing (audio included) and hope to roll those out sometime soon! As for customized backgrounds, we've just released our first round of support! You should be able to use blurred background and images for backgrounds with Firefox 99.

Animated backgrounds and styles are something we'll keep in mind for videoconferencing support in the near future.

LatinCanuck
Making moves

My advice would be: Don't reinvent the wheel!

I'm currently running:

  • Kernel: Linux 5.16
  • OS: Fedora 35
  • Desktop: GNOME 41
  • Browser: Firefox: 99

And thanks to the PWA Extension, I was able to install Element Web as a Firefox PWA. The current server I'm on is: Chat.Mozilla.org (powered by Matrix.org) and I can do Encrypted Videocalls plus Conference Call (powered by Jitsi Meet) just fine.

By the way, 100% of the solutions mentioned above are Open Source.

Meet me on Element/Matrix: @LatinCanuck:mozilla.org


Element Desktop

Woohoo! This is awesome, @LatinCanuck!! 🎉 Thank you for sharing these useful open-source workarounds with the folks here on Mozilla Connect.

Gah!!! Can't upload this in the post, but here's the GIF from Turning Red that reflects my reaction:

https://tenor.com/view/dancing-mei-lee-turning-red-party-time-disco-time-gif-23989155

LatinCanuck
Making moves

Like this? Turning Red has become my favourite Animated Movie. 😍

Mei Red Panda

 

Yep - LOVE IT! I was Abby as a kid, and the movie hit so hard on a personal level.

Pedro
Making moves

Hey @kkim ,

I believe that there is still much work to be done, but here is one thing that I believe would revolutionize the space. When I go into a virtual meeting, and what I notice from most people, it's that they often don't want the camera turned on, but would like to have some kind of representation of themselves. Combining Mozilla Hubs Avatars and Videochat would solve this problem. Having a controlled room, for example, where everyone is represented by its personal avatar, but you still have an interface like Zoom and Teams, would be the middle ground and greatly improve the experience. Just my two cents 😉

Hey @Pedro. Avatars for videoconferencing are an awesome idea! Zoom fatigue with the camera on is painfully real, and cross-platform collaboration would be a really fun product opportunity. We'll put this into consideration for future planning on advancing virtual meeting capabilities. Thank you for sharing!

jack1
Making moves

It would be cool if I could pop-out websites, like a PiP, but still allowing the user to interact with the popped out webpage. It will be helpful if I have to use two sites at a time.

Or maybe just an "open website in a side bar" functionality, there is an addon that can do this, but the sidebar wont expand that much.

Thanks, @jack1 . Loving your ideas! We're looking into making the best use out of PiP in our future planning, and I'll bring this up. 😄

kkim
Employee
Employee

Hi, all!

Thank you so, so much for sharing your awesome ideas with me over the past two weeks! Mozilla has deep roots in community, so it’s such a treat to connect here with you all. And we want to keep these conversations going! Here are the top hits I got from your comments (and I'm thrilled that some of these are works in progress for us!):

  • Clearer messaging for permissions + device switching when handling media
  • Improvements to screenshare (on both the audience and speaker's sides)
  • In-browser notetaking capabilities
  • More choice in visual representation for virtual meetings
  • Finding more pathways of awesomeness through Picture-in-Picture and its elements

While we can’t share any specific details/timelines on near-term plans yet, your feedback is instrumental to us as we look to build more engaging experiences in Firefox. My team and I have already started discussing how we can fold in some ideas that best align with our goals in the near-term...and we're looking forward to sharing updates in future releases!

And one last thing (albeit belatedly),

Bearded dragon with a piece of ramen on its head. Text says "It's gonna be May"Bearded dragon with a piece of ramen on its head. Text says "It's gonna be May"

Jon
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hey all,

Thanks so much for participating in this productive conversation. It was great seeing so many valuable insights shared both ways...and even seeing a Turning Red gif make an appearance! We are closing out this thread, but want to encourage you to continue sharing your feedback and ideas about this particular topic (and more) in new posts—just be sure to use the necessary labels and tags, so your posts are easily searched for and discovered by our teams

This will be an ongoing series here in the Mozilla Connect community, so stay tuned for the next discussion to kick off soon. And if you have a request for a topic, send me a message and I'll reach out to the product teams to hopefully coordinate. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with you all 😀

-The Community Team