People have fantasized about video chatting for a long time now. Since the Star trek days when Captain Kirk will talk with the other members of the USS Entreprise via video chat, people waited anxiously for the day when we too would communicate like that.
In the 60's AT&T released the picture phone which was a huge phone with some sort of camera attached to it. The receiver saw a constant flow of pictures of you which gave it the allusion of a running video. However, the picture phone never went mainstream as AT&T couldn't attract enough subscribers and the technology wasn't ready yet for the technology.
It was a good starting point but with the advent of the internet, video calling applications started popping up. When broadband replaced dial up and people had enough bandwidth to effectively do a video call, apps like skype, msn, camfrog etc grew and a few people started exploring video communication.
Between 2000 and 2008, adoption for video calling grew steadily but it was still an afterthought compared to texting, im chatting or e-mails. People claimed that it wasn't in their DNA to video chat as opposed to asynchronous communication. Video chat was also disputed because people claimed that they don't want to communicate and have to focus 90-100% of their effort in keeping eye contact. With something like texting you don't need that much concentration in a discussion.
However with the advent of more bandwidth, better video chat apps, better video cameras and mobile phones, video talk adoption has spiked in the last 3-4 years. There are web based video apps now where you don't need to download any software. On your phone, using apps like Klip, socialcam or viddy you can broadcast your life in a series of video updates. Cameras for video calling are becoming better so you can see the person you're speaking to much nicer and people are getting used to video communication. Like every technology before people are becoming used to video chatting and how to use it.
With people getting acclimated to video calling and most especially, the teens growing in an environment where video calling is the norm, we may see that by 2020 the world will look like the way it was on Star Trek! So what about you, do you like to video chat? Why or why not? Also do you think video communication is becoming mainstream? Comment away.