A quick call on an AT&T Samsung Galaxy SIII and there she was suddenly asking what certain buildings were and why there was a light show in progress.

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Industry analysts persist in painting a rosy forecast for video calling's future.

An NPD report, for example, predicted that the number of people placing regular video calls would grow to 380 million by 2015.

Technical hurdles persist, as well, but alone they don't account for our trepidation about video calling.

Sure, more bandwidth and lower cost wireless connections would help. A lack of standards and a refusal by the major players to make their services compatible means that video calls are more like appointment viewing than impromptu phone calls.

It's a matter of interest level: What someone's doing on the Westside probably isn't that much more interesting or different than what I'm doing on the Eastside. If you think privacy online is a problem now, just wait until people start calling you in earnest on a video line.

Consequently, most calling still takes place between family and friends.

There's also the specter of Chatroulette (or Cu-See Me and Jenni Cam, for the older folks).

What seemed to be a nifty deployment of global video chatting quickly devolved into free-form exhibitionism by people who should probably avoid such exhibitions (I'm just sayin').

But even with a push from major companies ranging from Apple to Microsoft, video calls have had muted success, which is a shame.

On a recent assignment in Hong Kong, alone at the top of Victoria Peak, I realized that I could share the view with my daughter, who was halfway around the world.

A nifty way to talk to people with different interests in foreign lands became an adults-only den of poorly-lit nudity and self, er, expression.