CyberLink YouCam 5: Log into Windows with just a glance

YouCam logoCyberLink's YouCam has always been about the fun side of webcams, providing a wide range of special effects to spice up your video chats with friends and family.

Not everyone is interested in enhancing their video with backdrops of falling snowflakes, though, or animated extras like birthday cakes or bunches of flowers. And perhaps realizing this, CyberLink has changed direction with the new YouCam 5, released today: all the old effects are still there (and you get plenty of new ones, too), but the headline additions this time are solid, practical features with rather more obvious benefits.

There's new support for logging in to Windows simply by glancing at your webcam, for instance. And the same face recognition technology can also log you into a few popular websites, in Internet Explorer at least, without having to enter a password (the full list: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Flickr, Twitter, Blogger, AOL, DirectorZone and MoovieLive).

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YouCam 5's Deluxe edition extends this idea by recognizing when you're no longer in front of the computer, and can then automatically lock or hibernate your PC.

A new Presentations feature (also Deluxe-only) allows you to create videos that can be integrated with existing PowerPoint projects. Your video may then be displayed alongside the original slide while you talk about it, and you can even annotate the slide by drawing freehand to highlight particular points, giving your presentation a much more personal touch.

And both the Standard and Deluxe versions now fully support HD video everywhere. If you like YouCam's fun side then you'll appreciate the enhanced HD effects, now more realistic than ever. But if you've little interest in adding a large animated pizza to your video chats, say, you'll still benefit from the new support for HD webcams, and the ability to save HD video in H.264 format.

YouCam 5 Standard is priced at $34.95, while the Deluxe build can be yours for $44.95. And if you'd like to try before you buy, then a fully functional 15-day trial is available now.

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