This week Vyew released version 3 of its browser-based collaboration tool. Freshly added are really useful things for online meetings like a push-to-talk VoIP system and Webcam support to take some of the chatter away from text and the corresponding telephone-based conference call. More importantly, there's now an API, meaning others can develop special applications that run within the service, expanding what Vyew's own developers are able to create.
One of those new applications is a built-in poll creator, where you can set up something for a vote and have others in the meeting choose which of the options they want. For something like a 10-person meeting this is a far better solution than clogging up the conference call or chat box with extra clamor.
There's also a new status menu where you can interrupt a meeting without actually interrupting it with a virtual "slow down" or applause message that will pop up for the presenter to see. You can use the same status message to tell other people you're temporarily away.
The smartest addition of version 3 is actually one of the most subtle. Users can now leave little text or voice notes on documents that sit both on the document and on the side. You can toggle which view you'd like to see, but either way it performs like some of the asynchronous collaboration tools we've seen like ConceptShare and ProofHQ. Others can then come back to the hosted documents and both see and leave their own feedback.
The company is pitching this as an alternative to sending attachments around the office, or to a client, and to a certain degree it's great for that, although missing is the option to view a timeline of revisions, which is where similar tools shine.
I still think Vyew is one of the simplest screen-sharing tools out there. The fact that it only requires you to have Java installed on your machine to make that happen is a much smarter way to go about compatibility than requiring a special proprietary plug-in or download. Vyew's Todd Lane goes over some of the new features in a YouTube video, which I've embedded after the break. You can also go make your own room and play around with them by clicking here.