making them the lowest-cost form of videotelephony.
In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.
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.
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.
They have also become a source of security and privacy issues, as some built-in webcams can be remotely activated by spyware.