Screen sharing software can help students, workers, remote partners, and clients to study, train, update and collaborate online. With today’s choice of web conferencing software solutions, it’s fairly easy to get started and to get everyone on the same page regardless their physical location. All major screen sharing software solutions are web-based, thus offering an instant start of a web conference without software installations or configurations. It will also let you share screens with others and do a video conference through the cost-free integrated VoIP using a microphone and speakers.
Before you decide on using a paid screen sharing service, consider testing free alternatives first. Whether you are a student, a solo entrepreneur, a start-up or merely an organization with limited resources, you can save with a free screen sharing solution, especially if you need it only a few times a month. There are plenty of free options available on the market, some offering ad-supported services, some services limited in functionality, some in the number of participants, some curtailing the length of a meeting, etc.
One screen sharing service, Team Hangout, is new in the market but seems to fulfil all mainstream online collaboration needs. Organizing and joining a new online meeting is web-based, doesn’t require user registrations, whereas all meetings are started ad-hoc without any computer preparations through a simple invitation form. Once everyone is gathered in a face-to-face meeting over the web, the room actually offers all ISL Groop online meeting (vendor’s licensed software) capabilities; anything from video conferencing with automatic sound and video device detection, simple screen sharing, application or region sharing, live annotations, PowerPoint slides import, file sharing, and probably the most important thing – tight security with 256-bit AES and X.509 certificates.
The first thing that will strike you as a new user of Team Hangout is its simplicity. You go to teamhangout.com, start a new Hangout, invite your friends, co-workers, clients or partners, and enter a web conference. To simplify things even further, Team Hangout skips all the initial hassle that most other video conferencing services usually surprise you with. A video conference turns on automatically as soon as you enter the conference room. In fact, Team Hangout selects also the best recording device automatically and supports hot-plugging of USB audio devices, meaning you can plug in extra audio devices during a conference call and seamlessly switch to a new audio device if it proves more suitable. So, only seconds after entering a new meeting, everyone can join in a spirited debate.
Other than video conferencing, Team Hangout offers standard functionality like other mainstream web conferencing software (WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.). To use it, it’s best to switch from the presentation to the conference layout first. There you will find the text chat, which can be shown publicly or privately between the chosen participants, screen sharing (see Tips on sharing screen), and easy import of PowerPoint slides. You can also dig into advanced functionality and create a blank slide, to which you add the content afterwards with screen clipping and copying texts. Or you can share files, use annotation tools to comment on live or static content, record sessions for later playback, give different meeting roles to your online team members, and switch between the “work alone” or the “follow presentation” mode (see Tips on advanced web conferencing).
Meet online with Facebook friends
The easiest way to meet up with your friends to share screen and perform a video conference is via Team Hangout’s free Facebook application. Once you have connected the free app available on teamhangout.com to your Facebook account, you can use it anytime and meet online with all of your friends.
Inviting your Facebook friends to an online meeting is fast and easy since you only need to select them from your friends list. Although, it’s partly reliant on your Facebook friends list, there is an alternative way to invite outsiders to join you in a screen sharing meeting. You can invite more (non-Facebook) people directly from your Hangout by providing their email addresses.
Now that you’ve got all the ingredients, all you need to do is to Team up and Hang out! But first tell me this; free screen sharing software: yes or no? Let me know in the comments.