If you work at a company with employees in offices around the globe, or you work in a small company but want to collaborate with others, you need a service that will let you connect with your team, share documents and collaborate. Here are five of the best services to conduct productive online meetings, based on your nominations.
Cisco WebEx ($65/month)
WebEx is one of the oldest and most commonly used online meeting services in the market. WebEx’s customer portfolio is impressive, and its online meeting service is incredibly easy to use. Install the WebEx plugin on your desktop to quickly host or join meetings, and a few clicks will get you working with your team, sharing screens, passing around the “presenter” role to others who have documents to show, or even chatting face-to-face. WebEx integrates with desktop apps so you can schedule an appointment and instantly add a meeting to it, start a meeting and email the attendees quickly, or even join a meeting on your mobile device or tablet. WebEx has a number of products and subscription plans for individuals, small businesses, or large enterprises that offer different features depending on what you need (and what you can afford).
GoToMeeting is another tool used by individuals and enterprises to host online meetings, collaborate on documents, and share desktops and screens among colleagues. The service offers a wealth of enterprise features even to individual users, including desktop sharing, HD video conferencing, and mobile apps that allow you to attend GoToMeeting meetings on your iOS or Android device. Install the GoToMeeting application on your PC or Mac and you can start meetings with a single click, or set them up meticulously so you only share the information you want to with the people you want to invite. Attendees get a tiny plug-in to install before they can join your meetings, but once installed, joining your meetings is a one-click affair.
Google+ Hangouts (Free)
A number of you mentioned that Google’s recent addition of screen sharing and document collaboration to Google+ Hangouts has rocketed it to the top of your list of online meeting services. We can’t blame you — it’s no secret we love Google+ Hangouts, and the service keeps getting better, with voice calls and large, clear video. In addition to the ability to see your friends clearly, host a meeting with several of them, share documents via Google Docs and collaborate, you get the benefit of being able to do it all on the web, for free. The only thing you need is a Google account, a webcam, and a microphone.
TeamViewer has a solid reputation as a fast and hassle-free method to troubleshoot remote computers, but it’s also a great way to get a team together on the web, share screens, chat, and work together on documents. For the low price of free, TeamViewer allows you to start instant meetings, schedule them in advance and email your attendees when they should join and the access code needed to see your screen, share your screen or pass the “host” role to another meeting attendee so they can share theirs, and even stream video from your webcam to the group so you can all see one another’s faces while you talk. TeamViewer also offers mobile apps so you can attend online meetings from your iOS or Android device.
Join.me (Free, $US19/month Pro)
Also more often considered a remote control and support tool than an online meeting service, Join.me, a free service from the folks at LogMeIn, has the features to pull double duty. The service allows you to bring up to 250 viewers into the same room, share your screen with them, chat, send files around to your attendees, and, like the others, offers iOS and Android apps for remove viewing. If you’re willing to spend some coin, Join.me Pro gets you the ability to make another attendee the presenter so they can share their screen, the ability to pre-schedule and lock meetings, and a desktop app to make meeting management easy.
Honourable mentions this week go to two up and coming meeting services with passionate user-bases, iMeet and MeetingBurner. Both services offer a wealth of features including screen sharing, document collaboration, and multi-person meetings for free for most users. If you’ve tried the big names above and just haven’t really found what you’re looking for, or want to try something new, give these guys a shot.
Did your favourite not get enough nominations to make the top five? Know about a feature about one of the contenders we neglected to mention? Share your tips — and your alternative services — in the comments below.