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GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting Review

By: Citrix Systems, Inc.

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Detailed Review

GoToMeeting is a web conferencing tool that allows users to connect via video feeds or telephonically. One can use it to connect with remote employees, clients, team members, and anyone else worth meeting. It also offers the option of recording meetings and creating automatic transcriptions, thus making it easier to keep a log of events of the meeting.

Pros

  • Allows creating one-time and recurring meetings.
  • Offers video conferencing as well as voice conferencing.
  • Offers toll-free numbers for voice conferencing so that attendees do not need to pay a dime.
  • Allows recording meetings and generates automatic transcriptions.
  • Integrates easily with Google Calendar and Microsoft Products.

Cons

  • Not completely cloud-based. One has to download the application to participate in the conferences.

Introduction

Communication is one of the key ingredients to run a successful business. It not only makes sure that everyone is on the same page but helps improve the bonding, as well.

When we talk of communication, it’s not just within an organization or among a few team members. We are talking about everyone right from the client to the entire hierarchy of the organization.

There are usually a lot of roadblocks in the way of effective communication. It can be because of logistics, time schedules, or any other random reason. However, the digital age allows us to overcome a lot of these obstacles with great ease, especially the ones related to logistics.

GoToMeeting is one of the tools that can help you with a lot of the communication woes and help you to have online meetings with others. It can be a video conference, an online voice call, or some other related method of collaboration.

The gist is that this platform makes it easy to do all those things (at least according to the makers of the tool).

In this review, we will analyze all the different features of this tool and see how exactly does it manage to stay true to its promises. We will take you through all the sections of the platform, and it might help you learn a bit about how to use it as well.

Before we get into the review, we would also want to clarify that GoToMeeting is merely one of the tools in the array that LogMeIn has to got to offer. This review is going to be only about GoToMeeting and none of the other tools in the suite.

Since they don’t provide a bundle of tools or any such pack, we feel it would be fine if we treat this as a standalone product. So, let’s not waste much time and get right into the tool.

Creating meetings

The name of the product shouts that it is all about meetings, and it will get even more obvious once you login to the dashboard. As soon as you are on the dashboard, you will get the option of creating meetings.

Meetings can be of two types- the ones that you planned well before in advance and then the ones that you need to have randomly. And obviously, you can create two kinds of meeting on the GoToMeeting dashboard.

Creating a new meeting is a piece of cake on this platform and no surprises there. All you need to do is specify the title of the meeting and specify the reason for the meeting.

If it is a usual one-time meeting, then you need to mention the date and time of the meeting, and if it’s an unplanned one, then you don’t need to do much else.

Another noticeable difference between a scheduled meeting and the anytime meeting is that the link for the latter never expires. You can have as many sessions as you want.

The feature can prove to be helpful for any ongoing project in the organization. All you need to do is create the meeting under the project name, and keep communicating with both the team as well as clients for as much as you want.

For a one-time meeting, you can mention how long the meeting can be, and make sure you give it enough time so that everyone can be thorough with it.

There are a few more sections in the dialog box that help you micro-manage the meeting. You can take care of the audio settings and the one related to the call me feature. You can also add some personal or brand touch to the meeting by changing the theme.

And finally, there is the option to add co-organizers to the meeting. If you are one of those secretive blokes, then you can also set up a password for the meeting. You can send out these passwords to the participants of the meeting and make sure only the invited ones attend it.

Once you are done specifying the details of the meeting, the tool will generate the invites that you can send out to people who you want to have in the meetings. The invite will have the access code for the meeting. Link to the meeting, and also a number that members can dial to join the meeting.

If there is someone new, then they can find a download link for the GoToMeeting app, and install it on their device before the meeting starts.

The things you can do

This section isn’t about telling you what you need to do in a meeting, but it is about the different features of GoToMeeting. The features that make life easier for you and your meetings a tad bit more interesting.

There is a reason why live interactions are better than written communication. The first and biggest advantage of live interactions is zero latency. You don’t need to sit biting your nails thinking if your message ever got delivered, or if the recipient ever opened to see its content.

With a video conference, you know that everything you say is getting acknowledged, and you can emphasize on individual elements of the conversation as much as you want. And this brings us to the next advantage of video conferences.

Verbal conversation allows you be expressive, something that is tough to achieve with other forms of communication. We don’t want to make this section all about the advantages of video conferencing or verbal conversations for that matter, but we guess you know where do we plan on going with this.

GoToMeeting allows you to have 250 members within a video conference. However, the maximum number of feeds on the screen is limited to 25, which is not bad at all. Who would want to see 250 people at a time anyway?

Even though the number of people allowed in the conference is close to what you can have in a webinar, you don’t get the usual capabilities of a webinar on GoToMeeting. You can’t conduct polls, something that is very common on webinar platforms.

But we aren’t grumpy about it. GoToMeeting is meant for online video and voice conferences, and it focuses on that. They have a tool called GoToWebinar if you want to have polls and other relevant features of a webinar.

Video conferencing

If done properly, video conferencing can turn out to be an absolute boon for users. However, it is nothing but a hassle and irritation because of the inefficient methods used for the purpose.

GoToMeeting promises to take care of all the possible issues that prevent one from having a great video conferencing experience.

The first thing they promise to take care of is the quality of feeds. Video conferencing presides over other methods of communication because it allows one to involve non-verbal cues into the conversation, as well. But if you can’t clearly see the feed of the other person in the conference, it is highly likely that you are going to miss out on the cues.

GoToMeeting makes sure that there is an HD feed for everyone involved in the conversation. They make sure that you can clearly see all the 25 possible feeds in the conference, and not miss out on anything that isn’t worth missing.

But they also make sure that just one video conferencing tool doesn’t take up your entire bandwidth and leaves no room for anything else. They mention using automatic bandwidth adjustment to provide users with a more optimized experience.

So, if you are sharing an image, the tool will take up less of your online bandwidth compared to when you stream a webcam feed.

Another thing they seemed keen on focussing on was the intuitiveness. It doesn’t take any technical expertise to navigate through the application. You already saw how easy it is to create simple meetings, and the same goes for when you are in one.

There isn’t much on the app that would confuse you. Once you install the app on your device, it runs in the background by default to make sure it doesn’t take long for you to initialize any meeting.

The interface is a clean one with all the usual options right on the forefront. You get to see how many people are present in the conversation. The chat window on the right is easily accessible as well.

You can broadcast a message to all the participants of the conversation, or you can send it to a few selected ones from the same chat window. There are plenty of scenarios in which you might find this option useful.

Screen sharing is also a simple enough task. The button for it is available on the window, and you can use it to share all kinds of presentations and images that you want.

They don’t stop at just the option of screen sharing. GoToMeeting allows the user to draw on images to make the presentation a lot more interesting and effective. You can choose anything from the pointer to the spotlight to highlight the content that you want.

You can insert arrows, use highlighter, or make use of any other tool on the tray to put your point across the table. The drawing tools are great for making the presentations, engaging, and letting everyone know what you are talking about.

You have the option to look at the feed of only the person talking or at the feed of everyone involved in the conference. It is features like these that make the entire video conferencing experience pleasant, and you can focus on the agenda of the meeting rather than focusing on the tool or the quality of the stream.

Voice conferencing

Video conferencing is just one of the things that GoToMeeting can help you out with. Not everyone needs a video conferencing solution all the time. Sometimes, all you need is to be able to have a simple conversation with another person or a group of them.

Group calling might not seem that big of a deal, but when you start including factors such as the remote locations of participants and high international calling rates, you might end up having second thoughts.

Moving the group call from the cellular to online network isn’t always the best possible solution. The other ways can be overly complex, and the participants might not like them as much.

GoToMeeting comes with the option of toll-free numbers for over 50 countries. The feature allows you to bypass the atrocious long distance charges and have as long audio conferences as you want.

Since a simple audio conference doesn’t need to come with all the bells and whistles of a video conference, there is no need to make the onboarding process long. In the case of audio conferences, the ‘Call Me’ feature allows the user to join the conference with no effort whatsoever.

The feature is an optional one available on the platform with different subscription plans. With this feature, you won’t have to worry much about if you are going to remember to get on the audio conference on time. The feature will make sure that you get a call at the time of the meeting, and you would be able to get in on the action with just a single click.

And you don’t need to worry much about the international team members, as well. No one except the person responsible for creating the meeting needs to pay. GoToMeeting charges only $0.8 per minute per attendee, so it should not be breaking the bank for the host, as well.

The convenience of features such as Call Me, and the functionality of superior quality calls, GoToMeeting is an appropriate choice for an audio conferencing solution for a lot of use cases.

Doing it on the go

It has almost become our instinct to run to the desktop or reach out for the laptop, whenever there is an official conference to take care of. It is as if people have almost stopped thinking of doing all these things on a mobile device.

And there are a few good reasons why it must be so. The first one that comes to our mind is the inefficiency of conferencing tools on mobile devices. A desktop or laptop provides larger real estate to the conferencing tools, and packing all of that on the smaller mobile screen isn’t always possible.

Another roadblock might be the higher bandwidth consumption over a relatively expensive cellular network. Not everyone will want to deal with matters on the go if it is burning a hole in their pockets. Poorly optimized mobile apps end up sucking away a lot of data, and therefore, not a preferred choice of everyone.

All the features of GoToMeeting that we just mentioned are available for desktop as well as mobile devices. They have a free-to-download app for Android, iOS, and Windows devices.

With the mobile app, you can have all the advantages of GoToMeeting on your mobile. The apps don’t make you miss out any of the useful features and add mobility to the mix.

GoToMeeting’s mobile apps come with a commuter mode, which makes it a lot easier for you to manage the app while you are on the move. There is already a lot that you need to take care of if you are moving, and you don’t want your mobile screen to be a distractor at this time.

The commuter mode would turn the entire screen to a single button to make things a little less cluttered, and you get the opportunity to pull off a no-looker-tap on the screen like a pro. Jokes aside, the feature helps you focus better on the conference as well the commute, something that it was set out to do in the first place.

The other thing it does is minimizing the bandwidth consumption. If you are on the move, it is highly likely that you are connected to the cellular network, and therefore the reduced bandwidth usage will help cut down the expenses.

And all this happens without compromising the quality of services you get.

Stop the back and forth between the conference and note-taking

Meetings are important. People say important things in a meeting, irrespective of if it’s a web conference or the physical one. And you don’t want to forget any of this important information that is being exchanged, so you resort to note-making.

But making notes means that you have to take your attention away from the meeting and focus it on the note. It is so because multitasking is a myth, and all one does is rapidly shift their attention from one task to another.

Now during this moment, when your attention is on making notes, you might miss out on the important talk going on at that moment. It, in turn, betrays the entire purpose of you taking notes in the first place.

Some of you might be thinking that we are making an unnecessarily big fuss out of note making during a meeting, but we all can agree there is always the certainty of missing out on something important in such a scenario.

GoToMeeting provides the user with tools that help them eliminate the note-making process so that they can channel all their attention on what’s happening right in front of them instead of trying to jot down what people are saying.

It would also help you become a better participant in the conversation, which has lots of perks of its own.

GoToMeeting can relieve you from the ordeal of note-making in two possible ways. The first one is by recording the entire conference for you, and another one is by creating a transcript.

Going back to a recorded session isn’t always going to be your go-to strategy (pun intended) if all you want to do is get a few points from the entire conversation. But if you want to reflect back on the events of the conference, then there is no better way to do it other than referring to the recordings.

The feature can also turn out to be a life-saver in case someone misses the meeting. You can easily share the link for the recorded meeting with them and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

GoToMeeting also transcribes the meeting for you and provides you with a searchable record of the meeting. Transcriptions are great when it comes to creating records and reports. It is a great replacement for any kind of note-making that you might have in place for the meeting.

Automatic transcriptions and recordings will take care of most of your logging needs in a meeting. You won’t have to worry about missing or forgetting anything happening at the meeting. With lesser stress of remembering the events, you will be able to participate better in the meeting, as well.

Connect while staying safe at the same time

Security always comes into the picture when we talk about organizational setups. A small security flaw can end up costing fortunes to organizations, and it is only obvious that firms are now taking online security more seriously than ever.

The makers of GoToMeeting, i.e., LogMeIn, have a lot of products under their umbrella that deal with organizational setups, and it might be a bit heartening for you to know that they aren’t usually associated with security flaws.

They are so confident about it that they have an entire section dedicated to security on the website, something that we usually do not see on websites for these kinds of tools. GoToMeeting encrypts all communication with AES 128-bit encryption. The encryption is virtually impenetrable, and you don’t need to worry much about anyone snooping in on your conversations.

There is also the SSL protection for the sessions, and when you enable screen sharing, then it all happens under HTTPS protocol.

They keep monitoring the state of security on their products internally and also take help from third-parties to make sure there is nothing that they miss out. You should not find any issues after downloading their applications on your devices, and in case you come across a roadblock, they have one of the more competent support teams.

We didn’t find anything to worry from a security point of view, and things look good and secure on GoToMeeting at the time of writing this review.

Some worthy mentions

So far, we discussed all the major sections and features of the platform that would affect the meetings and their efficiency. Apart from these features, there are a few that might not have such a direct impact on your meetings, but they certainly help elevate the experience.

Let’s go through some of these features.

Integration

There is usually a plethora of tools that one regularly uses to deal with the business and tasks. It can be the calendar that you are using to keep track of the schedule and meetings or the tool you are using to create the presentation.

One often takes the help of a wide variety of tools to make everyday affairs relatively easier. While these tools make a specific job easier for the user, a new problem arises because of the use of so many tools.

The user may end up getting more confused than ever in the absence of anything to tie all these tools in a single strand. However, most service providers now realize this potential issue and come with plenty of integration options.

GoToMeeting is a video conferencing tool, and there isn’t much that one can think of when it comes to integrations for a tool like this. But GoToMeeting made sure that you find it easier to integrate the platform with most of your office tools.

The software integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office 365, and Google Calendar. We think it’s needless to mention how these integrations can help you manage the affairs better. You will find a GoToMeeting plugin for all these tools, and you will be able to have much better sync across all the tools that you use.

GoToMeeting is also easy to integrate with the suite of products under the LogMeIn umbrella. With integrations for GoToWebinar and GoToTraining, you will find yourself in much better control over the state of things and experience improved productivity.

Reports

Reports help in monitoring the state of activities. They can help you identify the areas of improvement, and also the sections where everything seems to be going in the right direction, and there is no need to monitor them as closely as usual.

GoToMeeting comes with the option to create various kinds of reports. You can have a report of account usage, a report for the usage of the toll-free number, meeting history report, attendee report, and so much more.

The number of types of reports that you can have on this platform is a pleasant surprise. They seem to have taken care of everything that one may need. You can create reports for data as old as up to a year, and then there are so many report options on top of it.

The report section can turn out to be a great aid for any improvement that you want to have over your meetings. Knowledge is power, and all these different kinds of reports make up for a great knowledge source for the user.

Conclusion

Video conferencing is one of those things which, when done right, can turn out to be a great feature for the business, but if things go wrong, then it can turn out to be a big headache, as well.

GoToMeeting helps you organize and conduct video conferences, and it also brings with itself a lot of reliability. You can lay back and focus on the conference and be sure that things are going to go the way they are supposed to.

It hardly takes more than a few minutes to schedule a new meeting on the platform. There is the option to create a one- time meeting or one which can be scheduled again and again. GoToMeeting provides the user with enough options right from the meeting.

The options for video conferencing, as well as voice conferencing, add a great deal of flexibility to how you can manage the affairs. The attendees can be on the go, in their office, or maybe in the comfort of their couch. You will have a way to connect with them in most of the situations.

Since you can have as many as 250 people in a conference, we don’t think there would ever be an issue with the requisite size of the conference.

The options for recording the meeting as well as automatic transcription negate the need to take notes. They also help prevent anyone from missing out on any event of the meeting, thus keeping everyone on the same page.

Since most of these conferences will be happening under an organizational setup, it is obvious that some might be concerned with security. GoToMeeting provides the encryption cover for the exchange of information within the conference. Their clean track record in terms of security-related issues should also be encouraging for users.

They allow one to test out the product without providing any card details. We would encourage our readers to take advantage of the model and get a sense of the capabilities of GoToMeeting. We liked GoToMeeting a lot, and feel like it is a flexible and feature-rich platform for those who are looking for a video conferencing tool.

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