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Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0 review: Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0

Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0

Jeff Bertolucci
4 min read

Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0


Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0

The Good

Intuitive interface; uses application sharing; hides desktop icons and backgrounds during meetings; provides annotation tools; delivers good telephone and e-mail support.

The Bad

Recording phone audio requires additional hardware; no support for streaming video.

The Bottom Line

GoToMeeting 2.0 is a good buy for basic Web conferencing needs, such as a PowerPoint slide show, but it lacks the muscle for streaming video, an important component of many online training sessions today.

Looking for a simple, bargain-priced Web conferencing service? Citrix Online GoToMeeting 2.0 might be for you. In a genre that includes pricier and more feature-rich competitors such as Microsoft Live Meeting and WebEx Meeting Center, GoToMeeting is by far the easiest to master. Version 2.0 adds several much-needed features, such as the ability to record Web meetings and to share individual applications (rather than the entire screen). GoToMeeting isn't perfect, however. For example, you'll need additional hardware, such as a phone-to-PC recorder, to save audio comments from meeting participants. And since GoToMeeting doesn't support streaming video, it's a poor choice for online video training and tutorials. But with online conferencing, simplicity matters, a fact that Citrix Online understands well. We recommend GoToMeeting 2.0 for basic application sharing, running a PowerPoint slide show, for instance, but not for video.

Our setup proceeded without a hiccup. Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0 required about a minute over broadband to download and install. Desktop setup was equally easy for meeting presenters and attendees.

For presenters, GoToMeeting inserts an icon in the Taskbar tray. To start a Web conference, double-click the icon, enter your username and password in the pop-up dialog box, and invite attendees via e-mail through the GoToMeeting Control Panel, which appears on the right side of the screen. The program integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, adding a toolbar to each application and allowing you to start and schedule meetings from inside Outlook and Notes.

GoToMeeting's Control Panel is the best interface in Web conferencing. Tools are clearly labeled, allowing novices to learn the ropes quickly.

GoToMeeting offers the best interface in Web conferencing. Clearly labeled icons and buttons (such as Show My Screen, Stop Showing Screen) and pop-up boxes prompt you with easy-to-understand instructions: "People have arrived. When ready, click the 'Show My Screen' button." At the click of a button, the Control Panel opens and closes. One nice addition in GoToMeeting 2.0 is the new Transparent Control Panel. This feature lets you use the Control Panel--say, to send a private text message to one attendee--while running a slide show for rest of the audience. In the previous version, screen sharing stopped whenever the presenter opened the Control Panel.

Citrix has done a fine job of adding features without mucking up the GoToMeeting interface. New features such as the annotation tools--highlighter, pen, and so on--are attached discreetly to the Control Panel. Recording, a new feature that records your meetings, remains hidden until you click Show Recording Pane on the Tools menu.

GoToMeeting 2.0's enhancements correct many earlier shortcomings. The most noticeable upgrade is the ability to record an entire meeting--essentially, everything that appears onscreen, and, with additional hardware, audio comments from all participants--in the Windows Media (WMV) format. Since GoToMeeting saves the file on the presenter's hard drive, you can review the meeting later, possibly to study your presentation skills, or post it to a Web site for others to see. (E-mailing isn't the best option, however, since meeting files can be large. In our tests, a five-minute meeting resulted in a 10MB WMV file.) As noted, recording a meeting's audio commentary over the phone is complicated. One solution is to use phone-to-PC recording hardware, such as the DynaMetric Call Saver Pro, which starts at $145.

Another omission: GoToMeeting doesn't support streaming video, which makes it a poor choice for presenters who want to play video clips. Let's say you do want to show a training video during a GoToMeeting meeting. Attendees see rapid-fire screen shots, essentially a slide show, but not smooth, full-motion video. Nor will they be able to hear the video's audio.

GoToMeeting 2.0 lets you share individual applications and hide desktop icons and backgrounds during Web conferences.

Version 2.0 does add application sharing; a big improvement over its predecessor, which shared only the entire desktop screen. Why does this matter? Rather than letting attendees view your desktop icons or photos--or perhaps catch a glimpse of an embarrassing instant message that suddenly pops up--they're limited to, say, a PowerPoint demo. Another new privacy feature is called Clean Desktop Sharing, useful when you're sharing the entire screen. By clicking Screen-Clean on the Show My Screen menu, you can hide your taskbar, background, and icons from view.

GoToMeeting 2.0 isn't the most sophisticated meeting tool on the market--it doesn't support VoIP audio- or videoconferencing--but it's great for simple application sharing, sans video. And you can't argue with its price. For $49 per month, one host can hold an unlimited number of meetings with up to 10 attendees per session. Or you can buy the annual plan for $468. By comparison, both Microsoft Live Meeting 2005 and WebEx charge $375/month for five seats (concurrent users).

Citrix provides GoToMeeting users with phone and e-mail technical support at no extra charge. In our tests, phone support was excellent. Weekday calls were answered promptly with no wait times, and a Sunday afternoon query, despite the 10-minute wait, was answered politely and accurately. E-mail queries were answered within one business day. The Citrix support site offers the usual self-help advice, including product tutorials and manuals, although the troubleshooting section is a bit slim. For instance, we had to search the site to find out why our attendees couldn't hear audio during video playback. (Answer: GoToMeeting doesn't support streaming video, and essentially displays video as a series of screenshots.)


Citrix GoToMeeting 2.0

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 6Support 8