Cyberlink YouCam 2
Cuddly chatting characters
- Easy to use, cute enhancements, business conferencing features
- Webcam chat enhancements somewhat shallow, cost of software
Although this package is aimed at webcam enthusiasts, the only thing that really makes it worth the cost is the business conferencing facility.
Price$ 39.49 (AUD)
CyberLink YouCam 2 is an interesting piece of software that allows webcam chatterers a range of ways to ramp up the camp as well as facilitate business discussions.
With a simple interface and a family-friendly selection of cartoon-style animations and effects, users of YouCam 2 can keep themselves and others entertained. Of special note is the avatar chat system, which allows the user to assume one of 12 cute and cuddly characters.
In theory, when the user blinks, winks, moves or yawns so too does the fluffy creature on the screen. When we tried the function, however, the effect was a little more sporadic, with the cute little dogs and dolls sometimes still as stone while we fidgeted violently, but then active when we left the camera's view. Even so, this feature will amuse for a while.
Other entertaining stalwarts of webcam software are present, with a range of animated frames available to users. Filter animations can also be activated, with snowdrops and candy showers just two of the many effects available (others are downloadable for free).
The software allows you to record images using selected effects or avatars, and users can publish their footage directly to YouTube without going through the trouble of logging on to the service via a browser.
When webcam chatting using popular instant messaging programs such as MSN Messenger, a range of frames and avatars are available through YouCam 2's IM Mode — a minimised version of the full program. This provides a few gimmicky extras that can liven up a conversation.
But it isn't all play and no work. Two positive points for small to medium business users to consider are the security monitoring and presentation capabilities.
The first of these has been a staple of webcam software for years. As soon as motion is detected, time-stamped footage begins recording and images of possible intruders are captured on your hard drive.
Unfortunately, if the computer on which the program is installed is the target of a thief, it spells the end of this feature's usefulness (along with your ownership of the computer).
More useful is the ability to share documents, such as PowerPoint presentation files, through instant messaging programs. Users can set the duration for each slide to be displayed as the information is discussed and presented via standard webcam methods. This gives users and businesses that can't afford teleconferencing equipment and software, such as Cisco's expensive Telepresence package, a basic substitute.
The entertainment functions of the package are rather gimmicky. Whether or not these gimmicks are worth the price of purchase depends on how much amusement you think you'll get from them. For small to medium businesses that want a cheap off-the-shelf solution to facilitate online presentations and discussions, CyberLink YouCam 2 may be a surprisingly good business investment.
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