Explaining how to fix a computer over the phone every time family or friends need help with their computer is just too painful. I often resort to Skype screen sharing to walk them through simple procedures, but even that becomes too complicated since not everyone necessarily has the latest version of the program if installed at all. This is exactly why I was quite glad to come across join.me by the folks at LogMeIn — the simplest screen sharing solution I have seen to date.
How Does It Work?
Unlike most programs I have come across, join.me is very lightweight. In fact, the service does not really even require going through a configuration process to install. Just head to their website and click on the share button. A little downloadable app begins running nearly instantly on both Macintosh and Windows computers. A control panel pops up on your screen with an invitation code to provide others. Right clicking this generates a link too. Others can begin viewing your screen by keying in that code on the join.me website or by visiting your link.
The best part? Those trying to view your screen do not need to install any extra software. It runs right in their browser assuming they have Adobe Flash 10 installed.
Some Neat Features
Even without a heavy footprint, this app comes with a ton of neat features. The service creates a conference call number and an access code to let people dial into a single room. A chat box lets everyone viewing your screen join in on the conversation and there is an option to send private messages to individuals too. It is easy to pause and resume screen sharing with a single click — great for when you have to type a password. You can also view a list of participants, send them files, and even give a person control over your screen. Yes, you can kick people out too.
As someone with a multi-monitor configuration, I was glad to find that I could choose which screen to share. Did I mention mobile support? There are Android and iOS apps for viewing. These apps do not allow taking control of a screen like LogMeIn Ignition does, but viewers can still take advantage of the text-based chat.
Use Case Scenarios
There are two perfect situations this tool comes in handy. First, this is perfect for when you need to show someone how to do something. Second, it is also a great for having the person on the other end invite you to a join.me session so that you can take control of their screen to help them out. I found that the screen sharing quality was actually better than Skype, which is rather impressive. There was barely any blurriness even on the mobile viewing app.
Even if you are dealing with tech savvy people, join.me is still super friendly and very quick to get running. Disposable chat rooms are a godsend especially since having to deal with adding usernames to contact lists is frustrating. Those who really enjoy the service can get additional features with the pro version such as a custom background, a personalized vanity URL, international conference lines, and much more. Aside from the few extra paid additions, which I think are quite unnecessary for the most part, the entire service is completely free.