When I went back to look at it recently, I discovered that the service has been renamed “Join Me” and moved to https://join.me, which is odd but certainly easy to tell people on the phone. At the moment they’re trying to make it look hip by rotating a selection of big photos (beach sandals, water coolers) and cute slogans on the web site. Personally I’m not crazy about the photos but perhaps they’ll get over that.
The process is the same as before – a way to let someone look at your screen that is absurdly quick and easy on both ends. It is still free but there will likely be a charge for it eventually. A small bit of software is downloaded on each end but no registration is required and the software erases itself when the session is over. The service is Flash-based, which means it works on PCs and Macs but will not work on iPhones or iPads.
Like all of LogMeIn’s products, security is built deeply into the system and all traffic is encrypted. If you are hosting a remote session, you retain complete control even if someone else has been granted permission to use the mouse.
The controls are even more simplified in the new layout. Easy buttons support a chat window, a pause button, a method to let the person on the other side control your mouse, a list of people in the session (with some options for file transfers and private chats), and a new service for setting up conference calls with no fuss. (You join a conference call by calling a non-local US number. Watch out for phone charges!)
There is no shortage of similar services. A loyal reader pointed out Crossloop, which apparently has been around for several years. Last night I was on the phone with a Microsoft engineer who used Microsoft SharedView for our remote session. SharedView? I checked later; apparently Microsoft developed a screen sharing program and released it with little fanfare in 2007. It can still be downloaded but there has been no further development and the sad web site bears all the earmarks of an abandoned project. (SharedView requires a Windows Live ID to initiate a session, which is not exactly an arduous requirement. In the last few years, though, I have never found anyone who is comfortable with a Windows Live ID – not because they’re threatened by it but because they just don’t get it. It’s like a mental block.)
Join Me is fast and easy. Make it one of the tools you remember to reach for!