Webcam features and performance can vary by program, computer operating system, and also by the computer's processor capabilities.
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.
Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control.
This can be applied to games, providing additional control, improved interactivity and immersiveness.
Free Track is a free webcam motion-tracking application for Microsoft Windows that can track a special head-mounted model in up to six degrees of freedom and output data to mouse, keyboard, joystick and Free Track-supported games.
When sent to a remote location, the video stream may be saved, viewed or on sent there.
Unlike an IP camera (which connects using Ethernet or Wi-Fi), a webcam is generally connected by a USB cable, or similar cable, or built into computer hardware, such as laptops.
Other popular uses include security surveillance, computer vision, video broadcasting, and for recording social videos.
The video streams provided by webcams can be used for a number of purposes, each using appropriate software: Most modern webcams are capable of capturing arterial pulse rate by the use of a simple algorithmic trick.With very-low-light capability, a few specific models of webcams are very popular to photograph the night sky by astronomers and astro photographers.Mostly, these are manual-focus cameras and contain an old CCD array instead of comparatively newer CMOS array.Improved video quality has helped webcams encroach on traditional video conferencing systems.New features such as automatic lighting controls, real-time enhancements (retouching, wrinkle smoothing and vertical stretch), automatic face tracking and autofocus, assist users by providing substantial ease-of-use, further increasing the popularity of webcams.The Webcam Social Shopper is one example of software that utilizes the webcam in this manner.