The lenses of the cameras are removed and then these are attached to telescopes to record images, video, still, or both.In newer techniques, videos of very faint objects are taken for a couple of seconds and then all the frames of the video are "stacked" together to obtain a still image of respectable contrast.The Webcam Social Shopper is one example of software that utilizes the webcam in this manner.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.For a more complete list see Comparison of webcam software.Special software can use the video stream from a webcam to assist or enhance a user's control of applications and games.Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).
Small webcam-based PC games are available as either standalone executables or inside web browser windows using Adobe Flash.
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 term "webcam" (a clipped compound) may also be used in its original sense of a video camera connected to the Web continuously for an indefinite time, rather than for a particular session, generally supplying a view for anyone who visits its web page over the Internet.
Some of them, for example, those used as online traffic cameras, are expensive, rugged professional video cameras.
By removing the IR filter of the webcam, IR LEDs can be used, which has the advantage of being invisible to the naked eye, removing a distraction from the user.