Webex's core product MeetMeNow was quietly updated last night with some new features. New on the list is support for Webcams (both PC and Mac), which will automatically be detected and let the conference host know who's got video-conferencing capabilities. They've also condensed all video into one area of the interface, where the host can choose which cameras get broadcasted to others in the meeting. It's a quirky system, and not nearly as advanced as some of the collaborative services that offer up multiple user Webcams at the same time like Octopz (review), or even chat … Read more
Octopz (pronounced 'Octopus') is a Web-based, online collaboration tool for small groups. It's one of the many companies presenting at next week's Web 2.0 Expo here in San Francisco, and is making its public launch on Monday.
Octopz runs in its own browser window and uses Adobe Flash to mix a whiteboard space with live text, voice, and video chat. The workspace has an area to upload and share files with other group members. Each uploaded file gets its own folder, which houses any edits made by group members. For example, if you're making notes on a digital photograph, other members can create a copy of that photo and add their own notes. Each version is neatly stacked underneath the original. All group edits are saved and stored, and can be shared and edited later for asynchronous collaboration.
Things get a little tricky with Octopz's multiuser controls. Anyone can grab control of the workspace at any time, which in testing led to some minor power struggles. There's also not a way to keep track of which group member made which edits, either with a history or differentiating colors per each user. Despite these issues, Octopz handled a four-person conference from three different geographical locations smoothly.
Octopz comes in at $99 per month per license, which is twice the cost of the standard version of Adobe Connect. However unlike Acrobat Connect, Octopz lets businesses create an unlimited amount of rooms and users, something you don't even get with Adobe's professional level of Acrobat Connect service.
Update: Fixed pricing clarification regarding comparison to Acrobat Connect. Also, Octopz was picked as one of our Top 5 favorites from the Web 2.0 Expo earlier this month.
For more screenshots of Octopz in action, keep reading.
I normally don't comment on industry financial dealings, but this morning I was surprised by the news that Cisco is acquiring the remote meeting services company WebEx, for $3.2 billion (official news release). When I first read this, I thought I was reading a news story that had gotten stuck in the tubes for five years and was only now surfacing on the Web. In the online market five years ago, before the Web 2.0 hype bubble began--and in the wake of crumbling airline finances--it would have made a lot of sense. Today, it's less clear. … Read more