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Acrobat Connect: An excellent online meeting service, but overpriced

Acrobat Connect is an very strong Flash-based online meeting service that competes with Webex, GoToMeeting, and Microsoft's LiveMeeting

Adobe has launched Acrobat Connect (formerly known as Breeze); a very slick, Flash-based, screen sharing and videoconferencing tool. We've had a few experimental meetings using the product here in the Webware labs and came away impressed. And if anything deserves to be impressive, it's a Web app that costs as much as this one does: $40 a month.

Expensive, but perhaps worth it. CNET Networks

It's really good, though, and you can sign up for a 15-day trial to give it a spin. Unlike Webex and GoToMeeting, Connect does all its magic in Flash. (Connect also doesn't demand your credit card number before it gives you access to the demo, as these two apps do.) Once you set up an account, you have a permanent link (such as connect.acrobat.com/rafe) that's always live and is easy to remember and send to other attendees. When visitors want to join, the meeting organizer gets a popup alert and can allow or bar a user from entering a conference.

Acrobat Connect is one of those rare apps that does what you want even when you don't expect it to. For example, I have a dual-screen desktop. Connect intelligently asked which screen I wanted to share. You can also select a specific application to share, so you won't mistakenly broadcast your Outlook screen when you're trying to show off a PowerPoint.

The service displays video from users' Webcams. In our test, video was smooth and added to the meeting experience. There's a chat window, too. Audio is routed through a phone-based conferencing system; the system displays the number and pass code to users when they join a session.

Conferences can have as many as 15 people in their audience, and the organizer can hand control over to an audience member. However, unlike Yugma, an audience member may not then begin sharing his or her own screen.

There are many screen-sharing products available now, some of them free, such as Vyew. Acrobat Connect is a beautiful product that works very nicely, but it's overpriced.