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Webcams have been used for augmented reality experiences online.

One such function has the webcam act as a "magic mirror" to allow an online shopper to view a virtual item on themselves.

Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).

In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.

making them the lowest-cost form of videotelephony.

Despite the low cost, the resolution offered at present (2015) is rather impressive, with low-end webcams offering resolutions of 320×240, medium webcams offering 640×480 resolution, and high-end webcams offering 1280×720 (aka 720p) or even 1920×1080 (aka 1080p) resolution.

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.

Various software tools in wide use can be employed for this, such as Pic Master (for use with Windows operating systems), Photo Booth (Mac), or Cheese (with Unix systems).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.Track IR is a commercial version of this technology.They have also become a source of security and privacy issues, as some built-in webcams can be remotely activated by spyware.The most popular use of webcams is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations.