Collaboration

Review: GoToMeeting hosted conferencing system

GoToMeeting provides hosted Web conferencing in a polished, sohisticated package aimed at smaller meeting needs.

GoToMeeting provides hosted Web conferencing in a polished, sophisticated package.

Note: This review was performed based on the publicly available 30-day free trial of the service.

Specifications

  • Product: GoToMeeting
  • Company: Citrix Online
  • Windows Requirements: IE7/Firefox 3.0/Chrome 5.0 minimum, Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 2003, 1 GHz CPU, 512MB RAM
  • Mac Requirements: Safari 3.0/Firefox 3.0/Chrome 5.0 minimum, OS X 10.4.11 or better, PowerPC G4/G5 or Intel CPU, 512MB RAM
  • Price: $49/month or $468/year

Who's it for?

GoToMeeting is aimed at smaller meeting needs (it has a cap of fifteen attendees per meeting) without the advanced feature set of other packages (such as voting), including GoToMeeting's "big brothers" provide.

What problems does it solve?

GoToMeeting removes the complexity of installing and configuring an in-house solution for Web conferencing.

Standout features

  • Telephone Conferencing: The biggest feature in the GoToMeeting package above and beyond the free competition is that includes telephone conferencing.
  • Easy to Use: GoToMeeting is easy to use, with Outlook integration.
  • Meetings on iPad: GoToMeeting allows attendees (but not presenters) to view the meetings on an iPad.

What's wrong?

  • Mac Client Limitations: The Mac client for GoToMeeting is a bit limited. For example, it lacks the drawing tools or the ability to limit screen sharing to an individual application.
  • Price: Given the quality and abundance of free competitors, the price of GoToMeeting is not entirely justified by its additional features except to a few users.
  • Meeting Size Limitations: For the price, a meeting cap of fifteen attendees feels a bit low.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

The Web conferencing market is pretty full, with a great assortment of both paid and free services and applications out there. There is no reason to not be able to find a package that perfectly meets your needs. The question is, which one is right for you?

GoToMeeting is a step up from the various free services out there, but the "step up" is not just the feature set, but also the price. GoToMeeting has a number of features that the free applications often do not, like drawing tools, integration with other applications (notably, Microsoft Outlook) and the ability to record meetings. The biggest value-add in the GoToMeeting package is the audio conferencing, both via microphones attached to the PC and through a conferencing phone line. Depending on your organization's needs and existing telephony infrastructure, this could well be the decision maker for you.

GoToMeeting is a well-polished package. For example, its screen sharing can handle multiple monitors and can even display them "clean" without your taskbars and such, which is really nice. The Outlook integration is, of course, always welcome. The UI packs a lot of functionality into a small window in a way that is still easy to use. Common tasks like granting control of the shared screen to someone else is much easier than it is in some of the other systems that I have used.

Another advantage to GoToMeeting is that Citrix (the parent company) offers two other products, GoToWebinar and GoToTraining, with expanded feature sets and capabilities. If you could see your organization using those packages for some users in addition to the GoToMeeting functionality, it is definitely worth taking a look at GoToMeeting just for the sake of having a single vendor and application to learn.

One thing that was quite surprising was the sign up process. Even though GoToMeeting offers a free trial, they request your billing information up front and you will need to go cancel your account later if you do not want to be billed. This was quite surprising to me: I have reviewed dozens of products and this is the first time I have ever seen this. So, the lesson here is to be ready with your company credit card if you want to give GoToMeeting a spin, and remember to cancel your free trial if you are not happy with the software.

User rating

Have you encountered or used GoToMeeting? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

Read our field-tested reviews of hardware and software in TechRepublic's Product Spotlight newsletter, delivered each Thursday. We explain who would use the product and describe what problem the product is designed to solve. Automatically sign up today!

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

2 comments
billhjeaven
billhjeaven

Yeah, I used GoToMeeting for a while myself, but now I'm a huge fan of RHUB's service. It's dependable, easy to use and it's secure b/c its appliance works from behind my firewall.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What application do you use for remote meetings and meeting conferencing?

Editor's Picks