How to Use a Computer Camera Online

By Heather Bliss

A computer camera can help you make cheap phone calls online.
i Closeup of a webcam image by Christopher Meder from

In just a few simple steps, use a computer camera online to chat with loved ones or meet new friends. Computer cameras, also known as webcams, can be connected to a computer and used to transmit images and video for programs like Skype, Yahoo Messenger and Chatroulette. With a computer camera, an internet connection and the camera driver software handy, setting up a computer camera for use online can be done in just a few quick steps.

Step 1

Locate your computer camera. On laptops with built-in webcams, the computer camera is often located in the center of the screen on the top. If you do not already have a webcam, you can buy one online, at electronics stores or at most stores that carry computer accessories, such as Sears, Target and Costco.

Step 2

Plug in your camera. Built-in cameras are already installed. For USB cameras, plug the USB plug in to an available USB port, often located on the front or back of your computer. The plug should slide in with a little wiggling; do not force the plug into place. If the USB plug will not go in easily, you may need to flip it over and plug it in the other way.

Step 3

Install the camera drivers. Drivers are software that tell your computer how to communicate with the camera. A computer with a built-in webcam comes with the computer camera drivers installed and configured. If you have a newer computer and a well-known brand of computer camera like Kodak or Logitech, your computer camera driver may already be installed with your operating system. If not, run the installation program on the driver disk supplied by the computer camera manufacturer.

Step 4

Hop on to a browser based chat program like Chatroulette. If you prefer to talk to people you know, download and configure a computer camera chat program like Skype or Yahoo Messenger.