Almost every consumer electronic comes with a built-in webcam for joining video chats and taking selfies, and Chromebooks are no different. However, usually devices with webcams come with webcam software already installed in order to use it. However, Google does not currently provide such software with their Chrome OS (the operating system installed on Chromebooks). Consumers must then search the Chrome Web Store for an app that will give them control over their Chromebooks webcam. Webcam Toy is one of those apps, and is my personal favorite.
With over 2 million users and 10,000 reviews giving it an average 4.5/5 stars, it is also the most popular webcam app for Chromebooks on the Chrome Web Store.
As with all other Chrome web apps, Webcam Toy is installed from the Chrome Web Store (for more on the Chrome Web Store, click here). After installing and opening the app, it quickly downloads all of the camera effects to the Chromebook and, after giving the app access to your webcam, is ready to be used.
The app looks very simple, and navigating it is very smooth. The window is mostly filled with a live view from the webcam, and a few buttons in a row along the bottom of the window. The first button is settings, allowing alteration of a few basic options, the middle buttons allow the user to change the camera effect, by clicking through using arrows, or switching to a grid view to view nine effects at a time, with over 80 camera effects. The last button is used to take the picture, and then allows you to save the picture to your computer or send it to Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.
The Webcam Toy app also includes keyboard shortcuts for navigation of the app. Here is a list of these shortcuts from the Web Store description:
- ← → Arrow keys – Go to previous/next effect.
- ‘G’ – Show the Grid view, where you can see nine effects at once.
- ‘I’ – Show the Info (settings) menu.
- ‘S’ – Square the photo (good for avatar/profile pictures).
- ‘F’ – Turn the camera flash on or off.
- ‘C’ – Turn the photo Countdown on or off.
- ‘M’ – Mirror the photo (good for when showing words to the camera).
Although webcam software and apps for other devices may be more polished and have more features, Webcam Toy is more than enough for the average Chromebook user. However, using this paired with an image editor on a Chromebook, such as Pixlr, offers every feature average users need, and most of the tools a demanding user would need. Over time, these tools will grow, and become as powerful as the software for other systems.