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).For a more complete list see Comparison of webcam software.
Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control.
Video calling support has also been added to several popular instant messaging programs. Software is available to allow PC-connected cameras to watch for movement and sound, a computer e-mailed images of the burglar during the theft of the computer, enabling the owner to give police a clear picture of the burglar's face even after the computer had been stolen.
Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).
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.
Researchers claim that this method is accurate to ±5 bpm.