GoToMeeting 4 Everyone: 100% Mac Compatibility Plus VoIP Keep The Screen-Sharing Crown At Citrix
Citrix has just released version 4 of GoToMeeting (and ver.2 of GoToWebinar) which adds to an already outstanding screen-sharing tool, full 100% Mac compatibility and integrated VoIP, among some other smaller new features. With this release GoToMeeting strengthens its position as a the leading and best performing screen-sharing technology I have seen so far while introducing two powerful additions that are hard to compete with.
The new GoToMeeting release offers even more than one could have expected in this new version, which attempts to further streamline and simplify the already cool and slick interface while throwing in some heavy new features and improvements.
I think you will like what I have to show.
GoToMeeting 4 - New Features
100% Mac Compatibility
The new GoToMeeting 4 is now 100% Mac-compatible, allowing Mac users to host a screen-sharing session or to receive presentation rights from a PC user. Not only. The new VoIP feature is also integrated in the Mac verson of GoToMeeting, allowing full voice over IP audio for both presenters and attendees also for them. The only major feature that hasn't made it yet to the Mac platform is the recording, but according to the Citrix GoToMeeting team this should see the light pretty soon in one of the upcoming minor upgrade releases.
Probably too long-awaited to have the impact and the benefits that this was planned for, the addition of VoIP to GoToMeeting is probably the second most interesting feature in this new release. Being this the first release of the voice feature for Citrix, one cannot expect it to be perfect from day one. And in fact, if you have gotten yourself used to use Skype together with GoToMeeting (a perfect match) I do not think you are going to find the new integrated VoIP solution any better than the manual mashup you have used until now. The GoToMeeting VoIP facility works, but it is not as good, solid and reliable as what most everyone has come to expect from a VoIP call. Skype has long earned its crown in this area, and any competing effort will have to take very seriously into account that unless you offer something as good as or better than Skype, people will not bother using your newly added VoIP.
As a matter of fact in my own initial tests of GoToMeeting 4, I have had to give up on using the native G2M VoIP facility and switch back to Skype which offered much better audio quality and performance.
I would expect Citrix to refine and improve VoIP markedly in the coming weeks, but again my sensation is that this has been done too late and not with a killer solution. It is very difficult to switch user habits once they have settled on some tools that do efficiently what they need.
Additional New Features
Attendee Audio Controls and Advanced Audio Monitoring
Much better attendee audio controls are now available making it possible for the host / presenter to easily identify among the attendees who is talking or making noise, and to as easily mute any or all attendees until desired.
G2M v.4, integrates like its previous version a full recording facility which is capable of memorizing both the visual sessions as well as the audio from your presentation. Recordings can be rendered either in the native GoToMeeting format, which can be replayed back in a GoToMeeting session as well as in the standard Windows Media Video file format.
Floating Control Panel
The new GoToMeeting 4 sports a fully floating control panel which can now be easily moved to any position you want on the screen. As before, wherever you place the control panel the attendees to your presentation will not ever see it. It remains completely invisible to them.
A new site service from Citrix makes it also easier to log in into any G2M-based presentation. Just communicate the meeting code and send your contact to JoinGoToMeeting.com and the only thing they can do there is to input the meeting code you have just given them. With one click then they are in. Great idea to simplify the log in process. Bravo Citrix.
Edit Countries International
However amazing it may sound, if you choose to utilize the powerful international teleconferencing service integrated into the new GoToMeeting 4, you can now specify for which countries you want teleconferencing support and the G2M system will provide you with dedicated toll numbers in those very countries you have selected. The countries supported for now beyond the US are: Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
- GoToMeeting Product Overview
- Watch a GoToMeeting product demonstration
- Technical fact sheet (PDF)
- Sign-up for 30-day free trial
- GoToMeeting v.3 Review by Robin Good
Pros - Key Strengths
- 100% Mac and PC compatible
- Integrated VoIP
- Best screen-sharing performance in the market
- Integrated audio and screen recording
- International support (growing)
- Integration with other tools such as Outlook and IMs
- Live annotation and mark-up tools
- More manageable and customizable interface
Cons - Areas for Improvement
- New cosmetic changes to the interface do not provide tangible improvement. In some cases they may even infer some frustration as user brow accustomed to their tools and to the way they look and feel. If unwarranted changes even to the most cosmetic parts is introduced without a strong need, there will always be users who will like and others who will not because they already liked so much what they had before. Solution? Such improvements should be offered as an "option" in the Preferences setup of the tool and not as a forced upgrade.
- VoIP. Too little too late. Two years ago was the right time to add VoIP to this tool. As of now, the addition of a mediocre VoIP solution, at least as seen from its initial performance, offers more something to talk about rather than something to talk through. People have gotten used to utilize Skype in conjunction with G2M, and made exception for those who can't use Skype for some reason, the rest will not find this addition worth abandoning their habitual solution.
- Annotation and markup have remained the same. A major opportunity for gaining further market strength and to attack other uses and applications has gone unused. Live markup, collaborative tools are going to see a huge boost in demand and use and being on the cusp of innovation and usability on this front means being ahead of the game by a long step.
The new GoToMeeting 4 confirms its leadership as the best screen-sharing tool on the market. In My opinion, and after having tested hundreds of competitors remains unchanged: Citrix GoToMeeting has the best performance and screen-sharing quality you can find around. There are competitors who are easier to use, less expensive or more feature rich. But, if your main goal is to do a professional screen-sharing session with up to 25 attendees, I would not hesitate a second in recommending this tool.
GoToMeeting ver. 4 has all of the basic features you may need to do a professional screen sharing session, including text chat, voice over IP, teleconferencing, invitations, recording and moderator tools. The user interface is the best in its class and outside of a few minor items it makes just about any task easy and intuitive to find.
The addition of VoIP offers greater collaboration opportunities to those who do not have access to a phone line or who didn't want or like to use Skype or similar tools in tandem with G2M. Though the integrated VoIP technology in G2M isn't as good as Skype, it does provide a fallback solution for some users.
The element which still offers the greatest opportunity for extending GoToMeeting competitive edge is the annotation and markup facility. This is an area that will see lots of growth in the near future across all of collaboration tools. I have been suggesting several improvements to the G2m markup tools in the past but only some have seen the light of the day so far. I am ready to bet that in the next version of GoToMeeting or in the next version of one of its key competitors you will see some major innovation which will provide a great incentive for new users to jump in.
All in all, GoToMeeting consolidates its screen-sharing position as a leader offering a well-rounded, solid, reliable and highly performing tool for a reasonable price ($49/month for up to 15 users). If you have never tried GoToMeeting, I do suggest you give it a good try.
Originally written by Robin Good for Master New Media and first published on July 1st 2008 as "GoToMeeting 4 Everyone: 100% Mac Compatibility Plus VoIP Keep The Screen-Sharing Crown At Citrix"
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