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.

Yesterday, I tried to use the Google Hangouts on Air embed feature to conduct a training session with one of my clients. It did not go well.

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.


Update

A tweet from GoToMeeting after highlighting this blog post on my Twitter account:

Looks like the Essentials offering is just $20/month, the same price as Join.Me. I will likely check this out.

Erik Rostad

Author Erik Rostad

Erik Rostad started EPR Creations in May 2008. He works with universities, international organizations, and executives on their online presence.

More posts by Erik Rostad

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Jeffrey David says:

    I agree that Google Hangouts is a great tool for casual, social gatherings online. For business meetings, I would prefer a more secured solution such as RHUB’s appliance because it works from behind my firewall.

  • Hi Erik,

    I was just looking into this myself when I came across your article. My needs are a little different, but I thought I’d comment since I’m already here to let you know you can still use Google Hangouts to do screen sharing with your clients. You’d just want to invite them to chat in Google Hangouts (rather than embedding or trying to do an On Air type hangout). Once you’re in the hangout with the client you can choose an option there to share screens.

    Another option we use a lot with our clients is joinme.com. It’s very handy. 🙂 You can even have them share their screen with you and request mouse control to control their mouse and walk them step-by-step through whatever process you want.

    Just food for thought. Hope this is helpful.

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