Home 23% of U.S. Internet Users Have Tried Video Calling

23% of U.S. Internet Users Have Tried Video Calling

For many, the launch of FaceTime, Apple’s video calling service for the iPhone and iPod touch, seemed like a gimmick with little practical usage. According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, however, 19% of American adults have now tried video calling, video chats or teleconferences using services like Skype, Google Talk and Apple’s iChat. Looking at the number of total Internet users in the U.S., this means that almost a quarter of them have now tried video calling.

Overall, about 4% of Internet users now participate in a video call on any given day. While that is not a huge number yet, it is important to note that this is up from 2% in April 2009.

Sadly, the Pew study did not ask users about their sentiments towards video calling. There is some anecdotal evidence that many people prefer voice calls and don’t feel comfortable being on video. Qualcomm’s senior vice president for Global Marketing Bill Davidson, for example, told us last week that he does not believe that video calling will be a killer feature for the next generation of wireless data networks as users simply aren’t that interested in it. It would have been nice to see some data to either back this up or bust this as a myth.

Instead, the Pew survey focuses on the demographics of those who use video calls. There are no major surprises there. More affluent and younger users tend to use video calling more than others, for example, and urban users are far more likely to participate in video calls than users in rural regions (27% vs. 12%).

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