In the 17 years since the internet “started”, by public common standards (it’s actually been around since the ’70s), communications has had a major makeover. It didn’t all happen at once, either. First, people embraced email, a free, distance-defiant and speedy way to communicate with images and text to anyone in the world who also had an email address. This is the original internet communication form, and it was around long before you knew what it was, more than likely, since it was privately used by the government.
Of course from there, bulletin boards (now called forums) rose to popularity, followed by chat rooms, instant messengers and then the now highly-praised free video chat room systems. But, these systems aren’t perfect, and there are things they don’t do yet, or things they do but really shouldn’t.
Online webcam chat is a young freecam technology. This means that it hasn’t really had a chance to completely figure itself out. This is a common problem young technologies have, when first introduced to public use. One of the problems though, is that as it stands, some people are afraid video chatting. This is a natural human response, especially to something like recording technology. People may be reluctant to have their homes or their own personal image recorded for the world to see. This is probably one of the aspects of the technology that stands to gain the most from continued development and innovation. There may be several ways that people can make use of this technology and make avail of clever features that ensure more privacy than the system can currently provide.
Following along these lines, another thing that webcam chat systems don’t quite do yet is to use it to track facial expressions, movements and the like to control an avatar. This technology, called motion capture technology, is heavily used in animating CGI effects. It’s also become part of some of the more gimmicky gaming concepts of late. Perhaps this could be another breakthrough in webcam chat that could come to fruition in a few years.
Touching on privacy in another light, some sites are already covering one of the other base problems. Especially in the case of random webcam chat sites, there’s always been a problem of people behaving in rather unpleasantly naughty ways. This has made use of this video chat technology downright unsafe for underage users or people who are sensitive to seeing certain parts of the anatomy.