The Truth About Browser-Based Web Conferencing
Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari. Whoever you are, odds are that you have at least one of these on your computer. These browsers are the gateways to that glorious virtual land called the internet, and they can be used for more than just browsing.
Case in point: web conferencing. Most internet users assume that if they want their computers to do a specific task, they have to install new software. This is not the case anymore! Like other services, such as word processing with Google Docs or flash-enabled calling with GizmoCall, web conferencing is becoming more widely available.
What Is Browser-Based Web Conferencing?
Browser-based web conferencing requires no software installation, no new desktop icons, and virtually no set-up. This makes web conferencing a breeze for users, who can access group video conferencing in just minutes.
Does it Really Work Without Downloads?
Yes, for some people. The world of web conferencing has yet to become completely download-free. Downloads (such as plug-ins) are often still required in these situations.
Hosting: Although attendees can often join web conferences with the click of a button, hosts often need to download a special plug-in. Plug-ins (such as AdBlock or Pocket) are simple, low-memory downloads that automatically install straight into your browser, giving you one-click access to a convenient feature. Think of it this way: if your browser were a house, plug-ins are like new gutters or awnings.
Screen Sharing: This feature is great for any sort of workshop, tutorial, or training session. It allows any user – host or attendee – to share their screen (or part of it) with other meeting participants. Plug-ins make screen sharing easy to do. Anyone who wants to share their screen, including attendees, usually needs to download the plug-in.
Other Special Features: Some examples of other features that may necessitate plug-ins include polls and surveys, payment gateways, live document sharing, and secure conferencing.
Tips for Success
Ready for a web meeting? If you plan on using plug-in features at your next web conference, go through these time-saving steps first.
Hosts: If you are hosting, check for downloads in advance. This may save you time and confusion if you have a working schedule, and it will keep you informed on what sort of downloads your attendees may need.
Screen Sharing and Other Features: Check for screen sharing downloads in advance. Although most companies make this feature easy to use, it remains one of the trickier aspects of web conferencing. Make sure that your plug-ins are updated and it should be no problem to share your screen with attendees.
If you plan on using other features, like polls, that require plug-ins, install those as well. Be sure to ask your attendees to take care of this stuff in advance as well, so as to avoid hold-ups during the meeting.
Favorite Browser-Based Services
Looking for a browser-based web conferencing service? Check out a few of our favorites.
GoToMeeting: As one of the leading web conferencing services, GoToMeeting offers all of the essentials plus top-quality customer support. Customers can live chat with support reps during business hours
WebEx: WebEx is a pioneer in the web conferencing industry. Founded back in 1995, this company offers virtual meeting rooms and participant reporting, among other great features.
Adobe Connect: With a name like Adobe, you know you’re getting top quality. Sign up for this service and you’ll receive unlimited streams, Lotus Notes integration, and great security features.