Every now and then, I conduct a training session or website overview through screen-sharing technology. Most of the time I use GoToMeeting, but the $50/month is a little hard to swallow because I only use it once or twice a month.
Google Hangouts is a technology that allows you to do video chats. Google Hangouts on Air is basically an extension of this service that connects to your YouTube channel. This turns the hangout into a live stream. You can then point people to the YouTube URL of the live stream or embed the stream on your own website, as you would a YouTube video. This allows you to embed a live stream on your own website and point your participants to a specific URL. At the end of the stream, Google/YouTube then saves the stream and posts it as a video.
That’s what I did yesterday and the technology is not up to par yet in terms of using this as a screen share option. The main problem was that there was a one minute delay between what I was doing and when that showed on the embedded live stream. I conducted the audio portion through a conference call, so we were talking about things that were not showing up on their screens until one minute later.
Using Google Hangouts on Air to conduct a screen share that shows on your own website is something that I think will one day be available. It is a nice idea because even though you are using a 3rd-party service (Google), you can embed this onto your own website. You are not pointing someone directly to that third party. Your embedded live stream can then be on your own site, surrounded by your branding and other features on your website.
To be fair to Google Hangouts, had I just used Google Hangouts for the screen share, I don’t think I would have had the delay that was there due to embedding the video. But I didn’t want to use Google – I wanted to point my clients to my own website to view my screen.
For options going forward, I plan to try out JoinMe for future screen shares. Their prices are lower than GoToMeeting’s prices.
A tweet from GoToMeeting after highlighting this blog post on my Twitter account:
— GoToMeeting (@GoToMeeting) October 22, 2013
Looks like the Essentials offering is just $20/month, the same price as Join.Me. I will likely check this out.