Anyone who knows me will be aware of my passion for high-quality free software – and today I have a real cracker!
This week I was training a friend who lives on the other side of the country on how to use his new software. I’m too cheap to pay for a WebEx account and so the search was on for a suitable alternative. Fortunately I quickly stumbled across Join Me – a screen sharing tool that promised “ridiculously simple” screen sharing and, for once, they were not kidding!
Installation was a snap. Download a tiny 4mb file, click install and that’s it!
Sharing the screen was simple too. Start the software, send an email with the link provided and wait for the software to tell you that people have joined. No complicated setup, no ads, and nothing for the viewer to install as everything runs in their browser. During sharing you can see how many people are watching, chat with people, start an internet conference call, share control of your desktop with someone and even pause things if you need to get offline for a minute. If your viewers are on an iPad that’s no problem either! They have an app and it works beautifully.
During my session I had some problems with my wireless network and it even handled that with aplomb, providing a nice helpful message on the screen to let me know that no-one could see what I was doing.
So what’s the down side? Honestly…not much.
The “Basic” (read free) version has a few limitations. You can only share your entire screen so you had better shut down your email, instant messenger and any browsers connected to ‘interesting‘ websites before you start sharing. The Pro version provides the option to limit screen areas, schedule sessions instead of sending out the invitation just before the session and present to more than 250 people. None of that was a problem for me.
For me the system worked flawlessly with almost no lag and, compared to the complicated and confusing LiveMeeting and WebEx sessions I have used before this was beautifully simple. It has therefore earned a well deserved spot on my famous Free Software page.
If I were the WebEx CEO I would buy this company out before companies start deserting them on a large-scale. But if you are looking for a screen sharing tool that is free and “ridiculously easy” then your search is over.