It’s amazing how hard it can be to talk someone through a simple process on a Web page or computer application by phone. And it’s amazing how often a professional Web geek ends up end up doing that, both professionally and in your personal life (family and friends get discounted consulting, yes)? It’s an order of magnitude easier if you can show someone what you mean, or if you can watch over his shoulder while he follows your instructions. Many organizations purchase subscriptions to WebEx or GoToMeeting or a similar paid service to allow this sort of virtual desktop sharing for sales presentations, software demos, development collaboration, etc., but if your company, or if you personally, can’t justify the expense there are a couple of totally free applications that not only meet the “good enough” criteria, but in the case of at least one I’ve tried, exceed it.
Here are three free desktop sharing/web meeting tools I turned up during some research recently. The first one, dimdim.com, I’ve used in day to day situations – it was easy to figure out, fast performing, and didn’t require any software download for the people with whom I was sharing my desktop. The other two also get good comments. Like any “freemium” type service, they place some limits on what the free account gets you, mostly around number of users that you can share your desktop or have in the meeting at any one time, but for a personal user or even a small company, these services provide a great tool for no cost.