In a world where we now communicate and collaborate mainly via the Internet, it’s important to have the right tool available. Not only do you need something that is dependable and works properly, but you also want a tool that is easy for all of your collaborators to use.
Facebook currently supports online video calling (in partnership with Skype), though you currently cannot do group video calls. You can, however, have group text chats. It’s worth looking into since almost everyone has a FB account.
Google+ Hangouts is another social network that supports video chatting and with a group. Hangouts requires a Google+ account and, to work directly in a computer browser, a video plug-in. The Google+ mobile app can also bridge the technological divide by letting Android and iPhone users digitally hang out. The video quality is what you would expect from Google: solid and clean. You can also use video in Gmail, iGoogle, and Orkut. It’s now one of the easiest ways to see a group of people at one time.
Apple restricts its two video-chat services to Apple devices only.
Skype of course supports group video calling so that you can talk to and see more than one person at a time. However, this is not an online tool (as most know), you will need to download Skype 5.0 or higher to make group video calls. Skype allows calls between various kinds of devices. A computer can connect to a smartphone, another PC, or a landline—though only calls made entirely over the Internet are free, and for more than two people to video-chat, at least one person needs a $4.99-per-month Skype Premium subscription, which allows up to 25 participants at once.
Tango is a free app for both iOS and Android that allows video calls to be placed to and from devices on either platform. Tango can also be used on devices with only rear-facing cameras. Another plus for Tango is that it works over 3G (and 4G, if it’s available) and Wi-Fi.
WebEx is an excellent service that gives you unlimited online meetings. With this you get high-quality videos, phone conferencing, mobile and ipad so that you can host and attend meetings while on-the-go. You can have up to 25 people in a meeting and see up to 6 webcams on screen at a time. Their online collaboration tools, like whiteboarding, note-taking, and annotations, make it great for working with groups.Pricing: There is a free 14-day trial, after which the service is $19/month.
Use LessMeeting on top of other conference tool to make the meetings themselves better (like better meeting minutes).
This seems to be ideal for a business that wants to connect to employees, clients and partners via instant messenger and webcams. Within the IM client you can do very basic web conferencing such as sharing a power point presentation or desktop. Lync does not include any features required for conducting webinars such as attendee registration. Also Lync Online is limited to 250 attendees per meeting.
ClearSlide is a sales communications platform that provides a fully web-based service designed specifically for the communication needs of sales teams.
The best part is it has a flexible pricing option. You only need to pay 1/30 fee for a larger conference and switch back to small meeting room to get refund credit.
It offers free online meetings for both personal and commercial use to up to 250 participants – no registration, plug-ins or accounts required. The Pro version provides additional features for a monthly or annual subscription.
One of the best Web conferencing/meeting applications out there. Adobe Connect is a complete web conferencing communications solution. The system uses an Internet connection between two or more computers to create real-time, interactive online meetings, presentations, and classes.
Offers screen sharing and remote desktop control.
Mikogo is a free Remote Desktop tool for your Online Meeting, Web Conferencing & Remote Support needs. Share your screen with 10 people live over the Web.
GoToMeeting is a web conferencing tool that allows you to host an online meeting with up to 15 people. You can share any application on your computer in real time.
It’s a great tool for in-person meetings as well as web conferences, where attendees can track the agenda right along with you.
So which one is the best for online meetings?