Zoho Meeting is excellent Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I confess to being a big Zoho fan - the combined quality and range of their online offerings is probably unequalled.
Their online office applications are excellent and already offer an ability to automatically synch files with local Microsoft office documents. Hence I can work on a doc in MS Word on my laptop but have it auto syncing to an online copy as a background job via a local copy in near real-time. Thereafter I can open the document up in a browser from any PC once I have logged into my account.
So onto their latest release which is Zoho Meeting, which is a web conference facility that allows you to broadcast your screen to invitees to your online meeting as well as share control. I was kindly granted access to the private beta of service.
The application works via an add-in in Firefox but requires no install on the part of attendees to your meeting, who simply can use flash to view, albeit their is also an Active X viewer to choose from. The interface is stylish and compact, not to mention intuitive.
Today, whilst chatting to someone on Skype, I decided it would be helpful to walk them through a website application. I was able to quickly launch Zoho Meeting, ping them an email invite containing a link and within 2 minutes from initiating the entire process, my counterpart was able to view my onscreen activities without having to worry about installs on their machine.
Presently, you can't restrict what the attendees can see on your screen, so you should de-activate instant messaging service to avoid embarrassing IM messages popping up mid meeting. Likewise, close any unnecessary tabs in your browser. The application includes Zoho Chat which means you can swap messages in text with your invitees, but doesn't include VOIP or video. Consequently, you may want to run a skype call or other VOIP service alongside in order to allow you to talk (you could even run a landline teleconference!)
As I understand it, Zoho Meeting isn't presently targeted at supporting huge numbers of attendees to an online meeting. Nonetheless, most people rarely (if ever) need to link in 20+ people into their desktop screen view to do a demo or the like. Consequently, I think that this will be an invaluable addition to many workplaces, not to mention a winner with web workers.