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.
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Stays on the internet
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
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
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
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 –