GoToMeeting 6.0 doesn’t extend Citrix’s lead

Announced as the most prominent new addition in version 6.0, GoToMeeting introduces a labs menu in the Control Panel that allows you to use several new features:

  • Video sharing – allows you to share videos much quicker and stream audio at the same time.
  • Profile pictures – allows you to become more familiar with who you talk to without video conferencing.
  • Allow pane undocking – more suited for power users as it gives them more of a customized control.
  • Allow sharing a rectangle – allows you to share a specific part of your screen. Do you use an iPad reflector app, but do not want people to know?
  • Show control panel to attendees – allows you to demonstrate how to navigate your control panel.

The Labs menu came to be due to customer’s interests; Citrix listened to feedback and added the functionality. Continue reading

LiveOn shows promise but doesn’t make it into our ranking

The Japanese vendor LiveOn asked us to test their online meeting solution. At the risk of spoiling the suspense: The tool didn’t make it into our ranking.

But let us start at the beginning. The basic functionalities are all there and if we had to choose the scenario this solution is best suited for we’d say it definitely is online meetings planned in advance. Video is the central aspect of the solution, displaying the participant’s webcam streams in the main window. Functionalities such as whiteboard and screen sharing can be added in separate windows.

Now to the shortcomings… The tool runs on Windows only which really is a large restriction as we pointed out earlier – “Mac users are being neglected”. There are neither one-click meetings nor recurring meetings, and you can only enter a meeting room at the time the meeting is scheduled, no earlier. When we started our meeting it took us 8 minutes from clicking “enter room” to actually arriving in the room. Finally, there was no pricing information posted on the website.

User-friendliness and meeting-setup are the two major areas for improvement. The solution shows promise, but currently cannot be considered a serious alternative to the market leaders.

Mac users are being neglected by web conferencing vendors

There has been a large hype about web conferencing solutions for mobile devices for the last couple of months. And rightfully so. The mobile market – with the iPhone and iPad as forerunners – is growing at an incredible rate so it is mandatory that vendors of online collaboration tools make their solutions available to this growing customer segment.

Now this segment has been rudimentarily covered by the vendors, and the mobile applications – which we have tested extensively – make it possible for attendees on the run to experience an online meeting with the limitations their mobile devices set. So what is the next trend now? HD-video!

All well and good, but with all these new developments there is one thing that vendors keep disregarding. Of course it is nice to have new and flashy features. However, if you only make these available to one set of users and give the rest of us only basic functionalities, something is amiss.

You might have guessed it: We are speaking of the divide between Windows users and Mac users. What web conferencing vendors tend to disregard is that the online meeting market is different from all other software markets in one fundamental aspect: the rule that you need to make sure to cover the requirements of the vast majority (Windows users) before everything else does not apply. And why not? Simply because even though the Mac OS X user group is still small in comparison you do not know with which device an attendee will log into the meeting.

Even if only one attendee logs into the meeting with his Mac and the solution you are using does not support that, you have a problem. Fortunately, the better ranked tools in our comparison all offer some degree of Mac compatibility, which allows for attendance and collaboration in varying degrees. But even GoToMeeting clearly favors Windows users, and hasn’t developed their solution for Mac OS X further in the last years.

In our tool reviews we point at compatibility of the solutions with common Operating Systems. We will be keeping a close look at this issue and if a tool doesn’t show any promise of improving the service for Mac users, we will consider deducting points from the overall score. And no, that is not too harsh. This is a major factor in user friendliness, since a web conferencing host should not have to worry about whether everyone is able to follow him.