Top 15 Websites that Kick Webcam Butt

Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009 by

So you have a webcam. Big deal. Sure, it’s a nice gadget to have, and it probably plays a major role in your online communication activities. But is that all destiny has chosen for this small Peeping Tom device? No sirree. In this lineup of 15 websites I’ll show you how webcam utilization is taken to the extreme to create surprising, innovative and fun experiences you never thought were possible.

The list below is divided into two sections: the first focuses on webcam sites related to web communication, and the other section is fun and entertainment oriented.

  

Web Communication

1. Airtime

Having gone all out to generate online buzz for Airtime (celebrities including Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Alicia Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn and Snoop Dogg were on hand at the June 5th launch), we’ve taken it upon ourselves at All My Faves to test Airtime out, and see it lives up to the hype. Unlike Chatroulette, which often turned into a giant sausage fest, Airtime has two key functions: video chat with your Facebook friend or anonymous chat with a semi-random Facebook user, chosen based on your listed Facebook interests and friend networks. Because Airtime is not totally random (except for this random appearance by Mark Zuckerberg perhaps…) it has become on of the best ways to video chat with your Facebook friends.

2. Rounds

Rounds is spearheading the field of collaborated online activity by offering a unique, engaging and truly fun webcam communication platform. Thanks to their innovative concept and top notch execution, users can now dip into shared experiences online and go where no other users have gone before. Today the average online user, apart from visiting his or her regular websites, most likely has an account in one of the major social networking communities, uses video streaming services such as YouTube and the like, and engages in online chat on a daily basis. You could hardly call these online behaviors new or surprising. But what if all these and other activities were to occur in the form of shared real-time experiences by two users -regardless of their physical location- using webcam communication and video conferencing? Imagine co-watching a video, co-listening to a cool new song with a friend, or co-shopping online with your mom or best pal. This site definitely deserves a visit. The added bonus of Rounds is their personalization options (special effects, skins) as well as their game rounds feature, where users can play enhanced games together such as backgammon and truth-or-dare.

3. Tinychat

Already acknowledged as a worthy video chat and conference provider by Wired Magazine and TechCrunch, Tinychat definitely delivers a great free service to its users. With an emphasis on High Quality video and audio (HQ), Tinychat offers chat rooms you can share with friends and family for virtual face to face conversations. The service is simple to use, requires no downloads or add-ons of any kind, and you can start chatting away in style once you’ve completed the quick signup process (by using your Twitter log in info). Another cool thing about Tinychat is their iPhone application, so you can video chat on the go.

4. SpeedDate

Internet dating tends to get a bad rap, and as many would agree, dating in itself can deem an excruciating task. So what can we offer to the timid singles out there? One word: SpeedDate. Despite its somewhat intimidating name, speeddate.com provides a nice dating service through the use of your webcam. If you’re too shy to blind date or are short on cash for a dinner and a movie, give SpeedDate a try and you’ll see how it is a great return on your webcam investment. Embark on a series of 3-minute video chats with other eligible singles and see what happens. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll tell your kids the story of how you met their father or mother thanks to your computer and webcam…

5. justin.tv

This ever-growing community of self-broadcasters is a wonderful place to visit and use if you haven’t done so already. After you’ve uploaded a video of yourself you can invite friends and share the love, or check out the broadcasts of others. The site’s huge channel selection is an impressive database of videos which offers something for everyone; it covers a wide range of fields such as entertainment, science and tech, education, gaming and many others. Even if you’re not into showing yourself online, this is a great spot for learning and recreation.

6. Daily Mugshot

If you thought witnessing change is impossible, dailymugshot.com is the proof that the opposite is true. Their free service allows you to take daily pictures of yourself and see the progression of difference through a quick slide show. Smelling a bit like a custom made stop motion creation, Daily Mugshot makes you the star 24/7, 365 days a year. Naturally, you’re more than welcome to show yourself off to your friends. When a site has a unique concept, looks great and is well executed, there’s not much else to say.

7 + 8. Shoot and Share: YouTube and Facebook’s Webcam Features

Although YouTube and Facebook are long-established big fish in the social networking pond, their webcam feature is worth noting. With these services you can create videos at the minute you log into your account and share them around immediately afterward. Save uploading time and give way to improvisation and instant gratification. To check out Facebook’s and YouTube’s webcam features, simply log into your accounts and click on the webcam icon under your status box.

Pure Fun and Augmented Reality Entertainment

The next few websites are an eclectic mixture of fun webcam supported sites, and others which are based on what the web community refers to as Augmented Reality (AG). The rising trend of AG has led to the emergence of a quasi-infinite number of cool websites that merge computer-generated and actual physical environments. In this category of mixed reality webcam sites you’ll find places that deliver nothing short of engaged entertainment and a great deal of fun.

9. Web-Canimation

What can I say? Simply put, this site is packed with fun and creativity. Make your own stop motion movie with this platform’s easy webcam recording segments, and you will get in touch with your artistic side and imagination. The entire process from start to finish takes less than five minutes, yet your glory will last forever. If you’re fresh out of ideas for your one man (or woman) show, check out other users’ takes and be inspired.

 

  

10. Eternal Sunset

Although this particular site is not directly related to your webcam per se, it offers an amazing experience using other webcams scattered all over the world. As you might infer from its name, Eternal Sunset gives you a personal virtual porch overlooking the fabulous sunsets currently occurring around the world. The photo quality is superb, and navigation through the site is aesthetic and easy. Both romantic and super cool, Eternal Sunset made it into this selective lineup thanks to its brilliant idea and perfectly positioned network of webcams.

11. Wan’s Vision

This 100% fun website uses your webcam to create unconventional and inventive activities as well as special effects that manipulate your image for sheer enjoyment. Effects such as bubbles, turning Planet Earth with a mere movement of your hand, and many other exciting features are at your disposal. My personal favorite, the Mona Lisa, might be creepy to some users; the most famous lady in history will follow you with her eyes wherever you go. However weird, it feels like magic…

12. Ocean Recon – Royal Australian Navy Submariners’ Digital Hologram

Whether you’re into submarines or not, this website is all about shock-and-awe, but in a positive kind of way. Above all, it is both didactic and impressive. Experience a 3D introduction to the world of the Collins Class Submarine and explore its exterior and complex interior. And the best part? You can fire a torpedo and see it launched from the submarine’s hull! As with many other augmented reality websites, users need to first print out a designated page. These pages have a special marking which you will be asked to hold upright or lay flat on your desk. Why? Because that is how your webcam will be able to identify the central display point from which the AG comes to life.

13. Sean Kingston – Virtual Sean

The official website of Reggae singer and rap artist Sean Kingston includes an AG feature, ‘Virtual Sean,’ which delivers an interactive show with all the bells and whistles. The animation is terrific and funny, and the music will make your upper body dance to the beat. Try to move the printout around to see little Sean really getting into the performance. This little piece of entertainment delight is shareable through Twitter, Facebook and MySpace in case you feel Sean looked particularly handsome on your screen.

14. Publicis & Hal Riney

This top notch advertising agency has come up with a remarkable idea for presenting itself and its impressive portfolio of clients. By using astonishing graphics and your hand movements (perceived by your webcam’s real-time image of you), Publicis & Hal Riney have chosen the best and most striking way to market their professional and creative capabilities. After visiting this site you’ll wish you were able to afford a campaign with these guys…

15. And Last but Not Least – Webcam Practicality: HighlightCam

This site will transform your webcam into your very own PI (private investigator). HighlightCam allows you to record whatever is going on in your home while you’re away, and you can see the images live as they occur. Think about the effectiveness of this service; you can keep a close eye on your new babysitter, make sure your home is B&E-free (that is Breaking and Entering if you didn’t get it), and learn about your cat’s new acrobatic abilities. That’s all nice and dandy, but what if playback time turns out to be 4 or even 8 hours long? No worries. HighlightCam automatically fast forwards those dull moments of inactivity (condensing about one hour into a minute), so all you see is the bottom line of what was going on. It’s your personal virtual guarding service, free of charge and just a click away.

 


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