Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
The basic technology is to get the audio/video from my machine to yours so you can hear me. Nobody's in the middle storing it; we're just not that interesting.
I want to understand what is VOIP and how it works with video? After you a finish a VOIP with video call like Gmail or Skype, where does the video stream go to? Is it saved anywhere online or does it just disappear on the internet? Some people say that what goes on the internet stays on the internet.
In this excerpt from Answercast #67, I look at the difference between streaming audio/video on the internet and posting information to websites.
Well, what people say is partially true. If you put something on a server (like, if you post on a website, on Facebook, as a comment on Ask Leo!, whatever), there are enough different things out there automatically copying what's going on that it's very hard to undo.
That's one of the reasons we all strongly suggest that you never post something online that you wouldn't want your parents to read on the front page of your local newspaper. Because one way or another (we've seen politicians fall into this trap again and again), once it's on the internet, you can't get it back.
However, when you talk about streaming audio and streaming video, that's actually something different.
What I've been talking about so far is something where you are placing information (comments, or photos, or videos) on a website where it is actually stored on that website. That basically should always be considered to be something that you can't undo. Once it's up on the internet like that, it's there forever, for all practical purposes.
Streaming on the other hand doesn't do that. What a streaming audio call does or a streaming video call does (using technologies like Skype and like Google Talk) is that they actually send bits from your computer to your recipient's computer. They stream bits back from the recipient's computer to yours.
Now, there may be servers involved in-between in getting that data from your machine to their machine, but they are not storing it. I'll talk about conspiracies in a minute, but they're not storing it. All they're really doing is facilitating the transfer of the audio and video information from your computer to his and the reverse from his to yours.
A way to think about it is that putting something up on the internet is kind of like putting water in a bucket that someone can drink from later. Anybody that comes along can drink from that bucket and there's always going to be your water in it.
On the other hand, streaming is sort of like you're handing a glass of water to the person across from you; there's no third party; there's no place where it's being stored. You're just giving them the water, and maybe they're giving you water back - or tequila or who knows.
Point being though that it's a transfer between you and this other person where there's no intermediary doing anything to what is you're transferring.
Now, when I start to talk about conspiracy, the issue is that there are people who believe that even streaming audio and streaming video are being captured or can be recorded by third parties. Most notably, many people (or some people, I should say) are concerned that their government might be monitoring and recording what it is they're transmitting between the two.
That's why good programs like Skype (I'm not sure about Google) will encrypt the data so that, even though it might get recorded, what's being recorded is nothing more than encrypted noise.
The other practical reality is: you're also trusting the person at the other end. The person at the other end could, of course, be recording the audio and the video of your video phone call.
So those are the kinds of things that worry people.
For me, I'm not worried. The basic technology is to get the audio from my machine to yours so you can hear me; get your audio from your machine to mine so I can hear you; do the same with video.
Nobody's in the middle storing it; we're just not that interesting.
So it's not something that concerns me. Streaming - true, real-time streaming - is not something that I expect to be stored on the internet forever. Unlike uploading a file.
End of Answercast #67 Back to - Audio Segment
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