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A web camera (or webcam) is a real time camera whose images can be accessed using the World Wide Web, instant messaging, or a PC video calling application. Generally, a digital camera delivers images to a web server, either continuously or at regular intervals.

A webcam is also the name of a class of video camera devices which connect directly to the PC for the purpose of video calling over the internet.

The first webcam was pointed at the Trojan room coffee pot in the computer science department of Cambridge University. This webcam is now defunct, as it was finally switched off at 09:54 GMT/UTC on 22 August 2001. The final image captured by the camera can still be viewed at the webcam's homepage [1] (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/coffee/coffee.html).

As with many new technologies, webcams and webcam chat found their earliest commercial adoption and most aggressive technology advancement through use by the adult industry.

The adult industry required 'live' images and requested a Dutch developer to write a piece of software that could do this without using so called 'plugins'. This led to the birth of the 'live streaming webcam', which is still available in various forms today.

Initially intended for personal videoconferencing, it was quickly realised that World Wide Web users enjoyed viewing images from cameras set up by others elsewhere in the world. While webcam refers to the technology generally, the "Web" part is often replaced with the "Category" of images the camera provides.

Today there are thousands of webcam that provide views into homes, offices and other buildings as well as providing panoramic views of cities (Metrocams) and the countryside. Images from satellites are frequently posted on the World Wide Web. Webcams are also used to monitor traffic with TraffiCams, the weather with WeatherCams and even volcanos with VolcanoCams.

As webcam capabilities have been added to instant messaging text chat services such as Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and MSN Messenger, one-to-one live video communication over the internet has now reached millions of mainstream PC users worldwide.

Many companies have tried to jump on the 'live video' bandwagon, most notably 'vdolive' (an Israeli company), Spotlife (a Logitech daughter company) and lots of others, most of these have since bitten the dot com dust.

In mid-January 2005 two easy to use Google search strings have been published in an on-line forum. These can find thousands of Panasonic- and Axis-made high-end web cameras. Most of such cameras are running on default configuration, which does not require any password login or IP address verification, thus once again generating public controversy over webcam privacy issues.

See also

External links

  • webcam world (http://ww.com/) Oldest and largest webcam community
  • Earth Cam (http://www.earthcam.com/) Webcams setup throughout the world
  • Cam Central (http://www.camcentral.com/) Large index of webcams
  • Webcam Galore (http://www.webcamgalore.com/EN/) Outdoor webcam directory with previews
  • Camville (http://www.camville.com/) A community of webcams
  • FogCam! (http://www.fogcam.org/) Oldest operating webcam
  • Empire State Building (http://www.mergatroyd.org/cam/esbcam.asp) Web cam of the Empire State Building
  • WorldLIVE (http://www.worldlive.cz/en/) Most comprehensive webcam directory
  • Zeitcam.com (http://www.zeitcam.com/) Time-lapse animations of outdoor Web cams.
  • camvista.com (http://www.camvista.com/) High quality UK webcams.
  • DriveMeInsane.com (http://drivemeinsane.com/) Drive Paul and a few other people insane with the use of home automation and webcams.
  • 3914.ch (http://www.3914.ch) The Swiss Alps Webcam.
  • Naxos Island Webcam (http://www.geocities.com/ikarosstudios/naxos/webcam.htm) A greek island's webcam.da:Web cam

de:Webcam fr:Webcam pt:Webcam

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