by Michele Nachum
Published on 20 February 2013
GoToMeeting has undeniably been one of the more popular online meeting applications in the past decade. It started in 2004 and since then has offered companies of all sizes the ability to host online meetings anytime and anywhere.
The application is not free but it is affordable especially if you are in a business that requires several online meetings in a week or month. Since the recession began nearly eight years ago, many businesses have seen the light in terms of patching disparate teams together via phone or web video conferencing .
Why pay for an expensive flight and hotel room when you can see your team members face to face on a screen? We will see in this GoToMeeting review how the application has taken some of the hard "road" time off sales teams schedule and put more time selling versus driving or flying to a customer.
GoToMeeting has something that many similar online meeting applications don't have - a level of credibility being a Citrix product as well as reliability. I too have used the application for many years without a hitch and found it easy to download and attend an online meeting or web conference - whether I was on the presenting or the receiving side of the meeting. While the application is not free - its pricing is fair and has several subscription levels depending on budget or how many meetings you require in a month or year.
Signing up for GoToMeeting is fairly straightforward and you can do so on both a Mac or PC - and now you can also do it from your smart-phone or tablet. After going to their website, I merely clicked on the sign up link and boom - I had a 30-day free trial after entering in a few details such as name, email address, etc. They do require you to enter in your credit card number which will not be billed until after the 30-day trial.
Once you are in the actual GoToMeeting site as a new GoToMeeting member - you can start right away scheduling meetings. First I had to download the software which with Windows 8 only took a few minutes. Once I did that, I could then begin to schedule - which is not unlike scheduling a Google or Microsoft Outlook meeting. When you are ready to schedule a meeting, you can either log into GoToMeeting website or choose the GoToMeeting option on your desktop - which is an easier way to quickly see all of your meetings as well as setting up meetings on the fly.
As you schedule your meetings, you can input in the date and time and indicate if the meeting is a recurring meeting. The nice aspect to recurring meetings is the link to the meetings doesn't change so participants can use the same information over and over to log into a call.
GoToMeeting also allows you to input the type of audio you want for your meeting - either VOIP (through a PC or Mac speakers), a conference call-in number or both.
If you are including international meeting participant, you can click on "edit countries" and add in the regions you want to include. You can sign up for toll-free international numbers or else - anyone dialing in from a different country will incur toll charges.
Once you schedule the meeting, Outlook users will have the meeting information set up in an Outlook calendar mode…and you just have to apply the email address - see graphic below. You can also take the meeting information and cut and paste into an email to send to participants if you are using another Calendar application.
As the conference organizer you have control of the meeting and that means you can also grant "presenting" privileges to colleagues. The presenter is the one who will offer the demo/training/talk, etc. and in that case, the presenter can have temporary control of attendees screens to showcase a deck, images or video.
You can invite up to 25 people for GoToMeeting. Once the meeting starts there is also a chat function so attendees can also ask questions and communicate with the organizer - either privately or to the whole group. You can enable video web chat by clicking on the camera icon below.
Join Meeting - as the conference organizer you have the ability to invite attendees on the fly if you need to…perhaps you accidentally forgot to invite the right manager or someone has decided at the last minute to be included.
Record Meetings - you may record your meetings and as the conference organizer you can access the recordings on your computer. You can do this via Options and then click on "record."
Drawing Tools - Imagine being able to draw, highlight and point to terms on the screen.
HDFaces Video Conferencing - GoToMeeting allows you a to use integrated high-definition group video conferencing at no additional cost - which I think is nifty.
Security - If you are wondering about the security of GoToMeeting, according to Citrix, there is no cause for concern: "GoToMeeting uses HTTP outbound connections to transparently enable screen-sharing sessions even with corporate firewalls in place. In most cases, organizers and attendees can connect to Citrix Online' servers without re-configuring firewall settings."
As stated above, GoToMeeting provides a 30-day free trial. Once the trial is over, the lowest subscription rate is $49.00 per month or $468 a year and you can invite up to 25 people per meeting. That said, the number of features you get for the $49 per month is fairly impressive and video conferencing is at no extra charge.
The pricing rises as you sign up for more advance products (that include GoToMeeting) such as GoToWebinar, starting at $99 per month and you can invite up to 100, 500 or even 1,000 attendees. GoToTraining begins at $149 per month and allows you to invite 25 or 500 people.
GoToMeeting is an excellent and reliable source for businesses that need to host several team meetings a week or month with clients, employees and vendors in different offices, cities, etc. The pricing might be formidable for very small businesses - but that said - this will depend on how many meetings and demos and sales pitches you need to perform. There are free meeting applications out there but for businesses that need the reliability of a tried and true application, then GoToMeeting provides that important platform.
Ratings: ease of use 4/5, features 5/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 5/5