Almost every laptop these days comes with a built-in webcam. Whether you have a built-in webcam or one that plugs into your PC, Camera (an extension for Google Chrome) lets you take simple snapshots. It’s compatible with Windows and for use on a Chromebook.
Camera apps and extensions
Browse the Google Chrome extension store and you’ll find a thousand apps similar to Camera. From ones that offer HD-quality image captures (HD Camera) to advanced webcam capabilities (Webcam for Google Chrome), there’s something out there for everyone.
Camera itself is a barebones app that lets you take a photo or record video with limited features. Installing is straightforward, all you need to do is find it in the Google Chrome extension store (it’s free) and click ‘install.’ If you’re unsure about extension security, check to see if (like Camera) it’s made by Google, and it’ll be safe to download.
For Camera to work, you may need to let Google Chrome access your webcam. If you’ve previously allowed Chrome to access your camera and microphone, you shouldn’t have to worry about this. Otherwise, a pop-up notification by Google Chrome should ask for permission. If you don’t see this, look for a ‘blocked microphone’ icon in your address bar, click it, then click ‘allow.’
When you open Camera, you’ll have the option to take a photo or record a video by clicking the appropriate icon on-screen. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be able to mirror the image, then either add a grid or set a timer.
‘Mirror’ flips the screen. The grid can be set to 3x3, 4x4, or ‘Golden Ratio,’ and serves no real purpose unless you’re trying to perfectly align whatever you’re taking a photo or video. The timer counts down from either three or 10 seconds.
Your most recent photo or video is displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen. Click on it, and you can print it, ‘export to disk,’ or delete it.
Camera is as generic as its name, with severely limited capabilities; you can’t even use the mirror effect while you’re making a video. It’s also a standalone app, meaning it can be downloaded and installed to your device and can easily be removed via ‘manage extensions’ in Google Chrome.
Should you download it?
No. Camera is almost completely redundant, given that anyone who has a webcam should already have the software installed that provides the same if not more features.