Skype, Apple FaceTime, Google Chat Spur Video Calling: Pew

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-10-14
 
 
 

Some 19 percent of 3,001 American adults surveyed said they have participated in a video call online from their computer or their cellphones, according to new data from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Project.

Users joined video calls, chats or teleconferences from the Web via their computers to the tune of some 23 percent, while 7 percent have used their phones for such tasks.

Often, people placed video calls on both the Internet and their cell phone, but Pew only counted those who said they had used both mediums to participate in video calling once.

People were surveyed this past summer from Aug. 9 to Sept. 13 in what was the first survey of Pew conducted that covered both online and cell-phone video calls.

Pew last year looked at video calls from the Web, noting that the number rose modestly from 20 percent of Web users in April 2009 to 23 percent of Web users in summer 2010.

What is becoming clear is that mobile video calling appears poised to boom in the coming year, as front-facing camera are being included in smartphones and tablet PCs.

"Video calling has become increasingly available as camcorders have spread through the online environment, cameras have been built into smartphones, and as video-chat services like Skype, Google Talk and Apple iChat have become a feature of the online and smartphone environment," Pew said, adding that teleconferencing is also becoming a staple medium in businesses.

Indeed, Skype is picking up traction on mobile phones, with new apps surfacing to leverage the larger screens and more powerful browsers and processors on modern smartphones such as the iPhone and devices based on Google's Android operating system.

Apple launched its FaceTime video calling application for iPhone 4 in June, while Yahoo Oct. 12 launched Yahoo Messenger App for iPhone.

Tablet computers are coming to the fore to leverage video calling, most likely to enable video conferences for corporate road warriors on the go.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab touts a front-facing camera for video chat, as do future machines from Dell and Motorola.

Other trends Pew found:

  • A third of Web users living in households earning $75,000 or above have participated in video calls or chats, compared with 18% of those earning less than $75,000.
  • Some 29 percent of the Web users ages 18-29 have participated in video calls or chats or teleconferences, compared with 15 percent of Web users age 65 or older.
  • Online men are more likely than online women to participate in online video calls (26 percent vs. 20 percent). 
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