Video calling support has also been added to several popular instant messaging programs. Software is available to allow PC-connected cameras to watch for movement and sound, a computer e-mailed images of the burglar during the theft of the computer, enabling the owner to give police a clear picture of the burglar's face even after the computer had been stolen.
Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).
Webcam can be added to instant messaging, text chat services such as AOL Instant Messenger, and Vo IP services such as Skype, one-to-one live video communication over the Internet has now reached millions of mainstream PC users worldwide.
Improved video quality has helped webcams encroach on traditional video conferencing systems.
Other popular uses include security surveillance, computer vision, video broadcasting, and for recording social videos.
Webcams may be installed at places such as childcare centres, offices, shops and private areas to monitor security and general activity.
Webcams have been used for augmented reality experiences online.
In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.
Webcams can be used to take video clips and still pictures.