Raindance Meeting Edition review: Raindance Meeting Edition

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The Good Well-structured interface; strong application-sharing and video tools; tech support available during online meetings.

The Bad No VoIP audio; uploading documents could be easier.

The Bottom Line Raindance Meeting Edition is fine for small meetings though it lacks some features, such as VoIP audio, found in pricier Web conferencing solutions, Raindance is still a solid, affordable package.

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7.3 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 8
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Raindance Meeting Edition

Editor's note: This review has been modified to clarify that more than 15 users may participate in a Raindance Meeting Edition conference. (10/19/05)

Raindance Meeting Edition is a smartly designed Web conferencing program designed for small-to-medium online gatherings of people. In a price-to-feature comparison, it falls halfway between low-end competitors Citrix GoToMeeting and Convoq ASAP and high-enders, such as Macromedia Breeze, Microsoft Live Meeting 2005, and WebEx Meeting Center. Raindance offers the usual application- and document-sharing tools included in most Web conferencing solutions along with text chat and audioconferencing via telephone. Raindance's user interface has some clever tricks, such as the Follow Talker video feature, which automatically displays the image of whoever is speaking. Conspicuously absent from Raindance are advanced tools, such as a VoIP audio option--a potential money saver for broadcast-style, single-speaker events--and multipoint video that shows three or more attendees simultaneously. That said, Raindance Meeting Edition is a nice conferencing app and a decent value for small businesses on a budget. You can learn how to use Raindance Meeting Editon in a matter of minutes. The software follows a standard Web conferencing setup routine: meeting presenters download and install a small applet, which places an optional Raindance icon on the desktop. To start a meeting, double-click the icon; Raindance loads, allowing you to invite participants by selecting the E-mail Invitation icon on the toolbar. Unlike Microsoft Live Meeting 2005, Raindance doesn't insert a toolbar in Microsoft Office applications (handy for starting impromptu meetings while you're editing a Word or Excel file). Total setup time in our tests: five minutes.

Participants join a meeting by clicking a link in your e-mail invitation. They have the option of downloading the Raindance software or--as with many other Web conferencing services--using a Web-based client. We were impressed with Raindance's well-designed interface, which provides access to all major features--application and browser sharing, video, and so on--in a convenient, left-side column.

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