Web conferencing shootout: WebEx vs. GoToMeeting vs. MyTrueCloud

See how these Web conferencing services compare

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Citrix GoToMeeting

While WebEx tends to bundle many of its services, Citrix breaks its similar services up into different SKUs. GoToMeeting does not include ShareFile, for example. On the other hand, Citrix's recently acquired Podio service provides the same combination of social collaboration, meetings, and file sharing as WebEx.

GoToMeeting control panel
The GoToMeeting application has a control panel that slides out of the way when you don't need it, making it easy to see who has joined, to transfer presenters, and to mute participants.

The GoToMeeting application has a control panel that slides out of the way when you don't need it, making it very easy to see who has joined, to transfer presenters, and to mute participants.

GoToMeeting installs a Windows or Mac client application to actually run Web meetings. While these applications are fairly small, download quickly, and work well, at times one version gets "stuck" and the required new version can't install.

Citrix has recently addressed that problem by including the version number in the name of the GoToMeeting application and allowing multiple versions to reside in the application folder. Nevertheless, I still sometimes see what look like unnecessary application downloads triggered as I join someone else's meeting.

I've used GoToMeeting extensively for more than a year. In general, audio quality is good, but video quality can vary. I've noticed an improvement in video quality in the last month or so as GoToMeeting rolled out its HD video offering. GoToMeeting seems to have intelligent algorithms for favoring audio traffic over video traffic. While I have had GoToMeeting conferences disrupted by transmission or reception problems, there's always been an explanation that was external to Citrix's infrastructure, including local Wi-Fi issues, computer crashes, and cellphones going out of range of a tower.

GoToMeeting offers a 30-day free trial. That should be plenty of time to evaluate whether the service will work well for you. If you're looking for a free solution for a small group, the closest that Citrix offers is Podio Lite.

Podio Lite is a free five-employee, five-external-user version of the online work platform Podio. Podio was originally called Hoist, when its creators signed its first customers in 2009, and it was acquired by Citrix in 2012. Podio now uses Citrix's infrastructure -- GoToMeeting for Web conferencing and ShareFile for file collaboration -- while retaining its own Web "apps" for different types of workspaces.

I like the way Podio gives each project or meeting its own collaborative dashboard and the way it makes the network functionality feel subservient to the real work being done. At the end of the day, however, Podio and WebEx offer most of the same features and benefits, with somewhat different pricing models: Podio prices per-employee, and WebEx prices per-organizer.

Pros:

  • High-quality integrated service with unlimited meetings, free mobile apps, IM, and simultaneous video and screen sharing
  • Windows and Mac compatible, with more features for Windows
  • Good iPad support, including video
  • You can administer meetings and use VoIP from smartphones
  • Podio Lite is a good, free Web-based collaboration option for small teams

Cons:

  • Premium-priced except for free Podio Lite
  • GoToMeeting proper lacks file sharing, which is available in separate ShareFile product and in Podio
  • Toll-free phone service is a corporate add-on
  • No Linux support
  • You are often forced to download a GoToMeeting client to join a meeting even if you have one installed

Pricing: GoToMeeting: $19 to $49 per organizer per month, depending on number of attendees and features. GoToWebinar (includes GoToMeeting): $99 to $499 per organizer per month, depending on number of attendees. GoToTraining (includes GoToMeeting): $149 to $349 per organizer per month, depending on number of attendees. Podio: Free (up to 5 employees, no access control) to $9 per employee per month.

Next: MyTrueCloud's My Web Conferences

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