Nextcloud Talk is here

Today is a big day. The Nextcloud community is launching a new product and solution called Nextcloud Talk. Itโ€™s a full audio/video/chat communication solution which is self hosted, open source and super easy to use and run. This is the result of over 1.5 years of planing and development.

For a long time it was clear to me that the next step for a file sync and share solution like Nextcloud is to have communication and collaboration features build into the same platform. You want to have a group chat with the people you have a group file share with. You want to have a video call with the people while you are collaborative editing a document. You want to call a person directly from within Nextcloud to collaborate and discuss a shared file, a calendar invite, an email or anything else. And you want to do this using the same login, the same contacts and the same server infrastructure and webinterface.

So this is why we announced, at the very beginning of Nextcloud, that we will integrate the Spreed.ME WebRTC solution into Nextcloud. And this is what we did. But it became clear that whats really needed is something that is fully integrated into Nextcloud, easy to run and has more features. So we did a full rewrite the last 1.5 years. This is the result.

Nextcloud Talk can, with one click, be installed on every Nextcloud server. It contains a group chat feature so that people and teams can communicate and collaborate easily. It also has WebRTC video/voice call features including screen-sharing. This can be used for one on one calls, web-meetings or even full webinars. This works in the Web UI but the Nextxloud community also developed completely new Android and iOS apps so it works great on mobile too. Thanks to push notifications, you can actually call someone directly on the phone via Nextcloud or a different phone. So this is essentially a fully open source, self hosted, phone system integrated into Nextcloud. Meeting rooms can be public or private and invites can be sent via the Nextcloud Calendar. All calls are done peer to peer and end to end encrypted.

So what are the differences with WhatsApp Calls, Threema, Signal Calls or the Facebook Messenger?
All parts of Nextcloud Talk are fully Open Source and it is self hosted. So the signalling of the calls are done by your own Nextcloud server. This is unique. All the other mentioned solutions might be encrypted, which is hard to check if the source-code is not open, but they all use one central signalling server. So the people who run the service know all the metadata. Who is calling whom, when, how long and from where. This is not the case with Nextcloud Talk. No metadata is leaked. Another benefit is the full integration into all the other file sharing, communication, groupware and collaboration features of Nextcloud.

So when is it available? The Version 1.0 is available today. The Nextcloud App can be installed with one click from within Nextcloud. But you need the latest Nextcloud 13 beta server for now. The Android and iOS apps are available in the Google and Apple App Stores for free. This is only the first step of course. So if you want to give feedback and contribute then collaborate with the rest of the Nextcloud community.

More information can be found here https://apps.nextcloud.com/apps/spreed and here ย https://nextcloud.com/talk

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the plans for the future?
There are still parts missing that are planed for future version. We want to expose the Chat feature via an XMPP compatible API so that third party Chat Apps can talk to a Nextcloud Talk server. And we will also integrate chat into our mobile apps. I hope that Desktop chat apps also integrate this natively. for example on KDE and GNOME. This should be relatively easy because of the standard XMPP BOSH protocol. And the last important feature is call federation so that you can call people on different Nextcloud Talk servers.

If you want to contribute then please join us here on github:
http://github.com/nextcloud/spreed
https://github.com/nextcloud/talk-ios
https://github.com/nextcloud/talk-android

Thanks a lot to everyone who made this happen. Iโ€™m proud that we have such a welcoming, creative and open atmosphere in the Nextcloud community so that such innovative new ideas can grow.

30 Comments

  1. Matthijs
    11/01/2018

    Congrats on the 1.0 release. But does this mean Spreed is being replaced by Talk entirely? It’s kind of confusing now since the links still mention ‘spreed’ in their URL’s. Perhaps you could create new links for Talk en mention Talk on the original Spreed links?

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      11/01/2018

      True. This is the replacement for the old Spreed app. We use the same app identifier so that people can update automatically. But I agree that the naming might look strange. Normal users should see the spreed reference anymore.

      Reply
  2. Matthew Trescott
    11/01/2018

    I wonder why not use the Matrix.org protocol?

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      11/01/2018

      We are in contact with the Matrix guys. And we discussed to use the Matrix protocol with them. It was a bit too complex for now and it works a bit differently. But we are definitely looking into a Matrix gateway in the future.

      Reply
      • Jan
        11/01/2018

        I, for one, celebrate the choice of XMPP =)

        Reply
  3. Dario Rodriguez
    11/01/2018

    One question: Can the chat feature be exposed via matrix.org instead or in addition of XMPP?

    XMPP has the advantage of the possibility of integration with the Kontalk network and the legacy Jabber/XMPP ecosystem, but IMHO matrix has a leaner protocol and is growing very quickly…

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      11/01/2018

      Agreed. Please see answer above. We are looking into a Matrix gateway. Definitely

      Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      A bridge to Matrix is definitely possible. Same as the planed bridge to XMPP. Are you interested in contributing to this. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  4. Gunni
    11/01/2018

    Sounds great.
    Aside from XMPP integration (very pleased to hear that ๐Ÿ˜€ ) a SIP integration/gateway would also be nice, so you can integrate the voice call feature with your PBX.

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      11/01/2018

      A SIP bridge is/will be soon available as a third party extension ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  5. JIMI
    11/01/2018

    Great news, in terms of comparisons, I noted someone raised the matrix question already, but what about the just recently opensourced facbook ART protocol for end-end encryption… as a comparison and is there any advantages to it, I think it was open sourced 2 days ago

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      A bridge to the Facebook thing is also possible. But someone has to implement it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  6. Nate
    11/01/2018

    This is awesome news…

    Typo in the 4th paragraph, first sentence. Every not ever.

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      Fixed. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  7. Setec Astronomy
    11/01/2018

    Thank you for this initiative and congratulations on releasing it, I will certainly evaluate it once I make the upgrade to nextcloud 13 on my server.

    Please let me add that imho your description of alternative services is a bit misleading in the case of threema. It involves a central server but it – according to threema themselves, i.e. https://threema.ch/en/faq/data – this server acts more like a gateway/connection broker rather than a centralized messaging server. If they are to be believed, no unscrambled meta-data is stored on their servers and all storages are only transient. If users do not use centralized facilities to sync your contact lists / address books, there should also be no way to access this data without getting a hold of the users device(s)s.

    While I agree with your point that having access to the source code of the server and client components of any communication system is a necessary requirement to assess the privacy and security implications (and being able to self-host these components on own hardware and network infrastructure takes us a long way towards sufficient requirements), there is still some level of difference between the solutions you mentioned (and the ones you did not mention but which would be much more troubling in my opinion, i.e. Skype, iMessage, etc.).

    I would prefer threema to open up their source code and to – ideally – allow the use of ones own communication server. But I have to admit that they always seemed so far to be the smallest of the evils in this realm with at least a believable user story concerning privacy and security concerns and a buisness model that matches this story.

    Full Disclaimer: I am neither affiliated nor in connection with threema or any of its buisness partners. I am just a somewhat happy user who has relied on it for the past two years now to keep in touch with one of my friends who is also quite paranoid security and privacy wise but who is not that technically inclined.

    Good luck and all the best for your efforts!

    Reply
  8. Thomas
    11/01/2018

    Congrats to 1.0.
    Approximatly when nextcloud 13 will be available as a stable version?

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      In a few weeks. A late beta is available today

      Reply
  9. c001-k4rl1tsch3k3r
    11/01/2018

    I am very happy to hear that you are planing to integrate XMPP. Yes, Matrix got some traction lately, but after all XMPP is a very proven protocol with lots of implementations out there. Similar to WebDAV (which is great and being used by Nextcloud too), it is one of the protocols which somehow got the reputation of being old, just because a few years ago the mobile extensions and a HTTP bridge (BOSH) was not created in time while closed source extensions (e.g. by WhatsApp) were created faster.

    So if you have a modern XMPP client and server it surely works as good as any other messenger protocol. I am really looking forward to the XMPP support in Nextcloud ๐Ÿ™‚

    Please consider OMEMO support and congratulations for Nextcloud Talk.

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      This is all possible. Are you interested to contribute? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  10. Jimi
    11/01/2018

    Hey, im glad to see matrix was brought up and on the Roadmap already, just wondered, particularly since it’s mentioned in the main text, would there be interest in audit and analysis comparison of the recently open sourced Facebook chat protocol https://github.com/facebookresearch/asynchronousratchetingtree , it seems very interesting and worth a comparison analysis with what you have and matrix,… If for no reason other than completeness and to stay ahead of the curb,(I believe it was only open sourced in the last few days) which nextcloud always is!

    Reply
  11. Jimi
    11/01/2018

    Sorry i didn’t think the first message sent that’s why I retyped it! Apologies for the duplication

    Reply
  12. Jan
    11/01/2018

    Glad to see the Jabber/XMPP integration. Very cool!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      Thanks. It’s not done yet but planed ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  13. Rob
    12/01/2018

    It would be great if there was a simple WhatsApp-like mobile app that supported this and could be used to talk with friends on nextclouds and XMPP network!

    Reply
  14. madez
    12/01/2018

    > Mo metadata is leaked.

    Small typo there. That should probably be: “No metadata is leaked.”

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      Fixed. Thanks

      Reply
  15. Dave C
    12/01/2018

    We’re using Rocketchat and Jitsi-Meet for the power of Webhooks. I’d gladly jump over to using Talk if there were incoming/outgoing webhook support and the ability to have #channels. Looking forward to your future releases.

    Reply
  16. Frank
    13/01/2018

    Wire compatibility would be great, as I find this to be the future of messagingโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
    • Frank Karlitschek
      15/01/2018

      Yes. Wire support is possible. But someone has to write the bridge.

      Reply
  17. Martin
    13/01/2018

    That’s great. I really appreciate you support XMPP. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Am updating to 13 RC1 right now.

    Reply

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