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Easily create ad-hoc online meetings of up to 250 people with LogMeIn join.me

21 February 2011, Mike Williams

If you need to collaborate with others online then you’ll probably think first about using email.  But while this is a simple way to tell people what you’re doing, there are far more powerful options available – and LogMeIn join.me is top of the list.

This one free tool (LogMeIn’s replacement for LogMeIn Express) allows you to connect up to 250 people, for instance. They’ll all be able to view your screen, while individuals you select can also control your system.  A file transfer option makes it easy to share data, while the integrated chat client allows you to keep everyone in touch with what’s going on.

There are similar tools around, of course, but what makes join.me special is its simplicity – it’s just so very easy to set up and use.

You don’t have to install anything or worry about complicated configuration options, for instance. Just download and run the tiny join.me client, and it’ll give you a unique meeting code, for example 715-330-827.

Click this and a “new email” dialog should now appear, with a simple template message telling recipients to click on a particular join.me link.  Enter the addresses of everyone you’d like to invite, click the Send button, and that’s it – no further preparations required.

When the email arrives with a recipient, all they have to do is click the link. As long as they’re running a compatible browser (Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, Firefox 3, Chrome 5 or Safari 5, all with Flash Player 10 or later) or have the join.me iPhone/ iPad app installed they’ll be connected straight to your meeting, and be able to see the contents of your desktop.

Meanwhile a “Participants” dialog shows you everyone that’s turned up so far. A click here allows you to send individuals a file, or share control of your system.  This allows the participant to run a program or Windows applet as though they were sitting in front of your PC, perhaps useful if you want them to present something to everyone else, or maybe you’d just like them to explain how to solve a particular problem you’re having.

And a simple chat client allows everyone at the meeting to talk to the entire group, or selected individuals.

There is also a Pro version available for $29 a month which adds extra features, like a permanent link to represent your virtual meeting room, and a scheduler that allows you to set up meetings and send out invites.

None of these extras are truly essential, though. And so if you want to make a presentation, collaborate on some project or just hold a general meeting, it’s likely that the free version of join.me will provide everything you need. If you’d like to find out, then the 1MB client is available for download now.

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