Now that Dimdim, the popular web conferencing solution, has been acquired by Salesforce.com and will be shut down, it’s time to look for alternatives. I’m looking for free web conferencing solutions, and here’s what I have found.
1. Join.me is a screen sharing tool from LogMeIn. The free version has screen sharing, chat, file transfer and remote control. You can have as many as 250 participants. You also get a conference line that you can call into during the meeting. join.me does not have recording capabilities, and if you need to schedule meetings, you will need to upgrade to join.me Pro. Since this is a service from LogMeIn, remote access is very fast.
2. Vyew is a browser based web conferencing solution that supports browsers on Windows, Mac & Linux. You can use the hosted version or get the enterprise appliance to setup an on-premise version. It has screen sharing, application sharing, remote control, recording, chat, whiteboard, voice notes, polls, screen capture, session scheduling and telephone conferencing. It also has built-in support for VoIP and your computer webcam. For more control, it provides both a server-side and client-side API, so you can enhance the application or build your own integration modules. The free version supports up to 10 participants.
3. Mikogo is a free, desktop sharing application that runs on both Windows and Macs. It has screen sharing, file transfer, remote control, session scheduling, recording and whiteboard functionality. Up to 10 participants can join your session. They have US and international phone conferencing numbers you can use. Mikogo gives you the option to share your whole screen or just a single application.
4. Microsoft SharedView is a way to share your screen or documents with one or more remote participants for Windows. It has screen sharing, file transfer (called handouts), remote control, and chat. You can share the entire desktop or limit the view to an application or document. You can connect with up to 15 people. It has no audio conferencing support, so you will need to use a separate audio conferencing solution. The SharedView system requirements page states it does not support 64-bit Windows. It also does not include Windows 7, which most likely is because the page and software is not actively maintained anymore.
5. VoiceThread is different from the pack as it is more focused on document collaboration than screen sharing. If your online meeting is mostly flipping through a presentation or collaborating on a document, VoiceThread is a good option. A free session holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments by computer microphone, telephone, text, and webcam. It has recording and whiteboard features as well. The free version has size limits on video comments, phone comments and storage. Review those before you decide to use this one.
6. Dimdim also has an open source version, although no longer actively maintained. The last version is 4.5 released on December 3, 2008. The software can be integrated with Moodle. If you want something to build on and enhance, look at this option. If you need something that just works, skip this one, as it is no longer supported.
7. openmeetings is another free, open-source web conferencing software. It has screen sharing, whiteboard, recording, video and audio, and document sharing. It can be integrated with Facebook, Moodle and SugarCRM. If you are looking for an open source in-house solution, this is a good option as the software is actively maintained.
There’s also a web conferencing service called Yugma. They have a free web conferencing service but sessions are limited to 15 minutes. 15 minutes is not enough for most online meetings, so this was not added to the list. There’s also ZoHo Meeting, but the free version only allows 1 participant. This is a big limitation so ZoHo meeting didn’t make the list as well.
Which one do you use? Please let me know which one you like or if you are using something better.