Who hasn’t needed to share screen and do a video conference with friends at one time or another? That is, to either work together on a home study, to quickly share information, videos and photos with friends, or meet online with remote co-workers. I guess we all have, but only a handful of web meeting software solutions offer the real thing. All quality web conferencing software solutions are either licensed with prices going beyond occasional online get-togethers, while the free software usually offers limited number of users or functionality, or is ad-supported.
Anyhow, the remote desktop and web conferencing provider, ISL Online, has recently launched a free web conferencing service called Team Hangout, which is based on their nifty online meeting software, ISL Groop. Team Hangout lets you start a free face-to-face meeting over the web in seconds and collaborate online with screen sharing and video conferencing. There are no time or user limitations, no advertisements, and you get to use unlimited ISL Groop functionality once you are in an online meeting. You can start a new meeting either through teamhangout.com or connect the free app to Facebook.
Free web meeting functionality
• Video conferencing: live chat, VoIP audio, webcam video.
• Automatic sound and video device detection – no settings required.
• USB audio device hot-plugging during a web conference.
• Share live content: screen sharing, application sharing, region sharing.
• Share static content: PowerPoint presentation, images, clipboard content, a snapshot of live screen, text.
• File sharing.
• Annotations: text, arrows, highlighter, pen.
• Highest security: AES 256 Bit SSL, X.509 certificates.
Connect with Facebook
The easiest way to meet up with your friends to share screen and do a video conference is via Team Hangout’s free Facebook application. Once you have connected the app from teamhangout.com to your Facebook account, you can use it anytime and meet online with all of your Facebook friends. Although, it’s partly reliant on your Facebook friends list, there is an alternative way to invite people to join you in a screen sharing meeting. You can invite more (non-Facebook) people directly from your Hangout by providing their email addresses.
Meet online from teamhangout.com
If you’re not a Facebook user, don’t worry about it, you can also start a free web conference from teamhangout.com. Just visit the page, hoover over the main circle and click ‘Start a Hangout’. To the contrary to fast invitations of your Facebook friends, where all you need to do is check them on your friends list, starting a new Team Hangout from teamhangout.com demands a bit more effort as you need to enter email addresses of all the people you want to meet online.
Privacy of your online meeting
The reason to use Team Hangout as a Facebook app rather than from teamhangout.com is also better privacy. Even though your friends could eventually see when you are in a Team Hangout meeting and join your meeting, that’s actually a very unusual scenario. To do that, your friends should open the TeamHangout app in Facebook just at the time you were using it and click to join your circle. On the other hand, your live Team Hangout created from the page teamhangout.com is public and can be seen and joined by everyone visiting the webpage.
If I ranked different online meetings by their level of privacy, I would have to rank the one created from teamhangout.com the lowest as it is public and thus mainly used for testing purposes. Facebook’s Team Hangout assures much better privacy but can still be entered by others with a bit of effort and luck. Nevertheless, Team Hangout as a Facebook app is recommended for casual informal online get-togethers with friends, students or study groups for home studies, remote co-workers for informal meetings, small groups for quick online information sharing, small businesses and more. On the highest rank lies the original meeting software, ISL Groop, which ensures 100% privacy and is thus perfect for secure web conferencing in businesses of all sizes.
Now, all you need to do is to Team up and Hang out!