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How Video Instant Messaging Works


Video instant messaging is being used increasingly to stay in touch with family, friends and business colleagues.
Video instant messaging is being used increasingly to stay in touch with family, friends and business colleagues.
Adrian Weinbrecht/Stone/Getty Images

Instant messaging -- in which online computer users send short text messages directly to friends and coworkers -- is becoming increasingly common. But imagine user sending his live video image as the message popping up on someone’s computer. Instead of typing, “Hello, what you doing?” you simply say it into your computer’s camera, which pipes your smiling image to the friend’s computer screen.

This is the essence of video instant messaging, a decade-old idea that today is finding more and more users.

Video messaging takes instant messaging to a higher, more colorful level. It’s hard to imagine a more personalized way to communicate over distances than the two-way, real-time, face-to-face communications video instant messaging provides.

While the idea for video instant messaging isn’t new, software developers had to overcome many challenges to make it not only workable, but acceptable to consumers. For instance, broadband networks had to grow in order to accommodate the video images, and small work station video cameras had to become common place, as well.

Now, there are many common uses for video instant messaging. Families and friends use it to keep in touch -- like a phone call, for instance. Businesses can use it to pop in on clients or conduct meetings among far-flung associates.

Like any messaging device, however, there are some basic rules and etiquette to follow. Video instant messaging, like textual instant messaging, is so easy to do that it can become an annoyance if users fail to use discretion.

With broadband and high-speed Internet connections more available, however, video instant messaging is becoming more the norm.

What innovations make video instant messaging possible? What are the uses for video instant messaging? Read on to find out. 


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