Scheduling meetings online is a pain, period. If you think Skype makes your life easy, well, think twice. First of all, you need to have an account with them, then download and install their bulky software, then pester your friends to do the same if they haven’t done so already (True story). Though this makes sense for heavy users on the longer run, it’s too much pain if you just want to have a casual conversation with your friends or just interviewing a potential hire.
Isn’t there any light weight solution that makes ad-hoc meetings simple? Google+ hangout is an interesting option, but that would again mean registering an account in their social network and adding your “friends” to it. No, I need an app that doesn’t require any setup whatsoever. In my endless quest to find the perfect app, I stumbled upon meetings.io. It looks promising at first-glance, so join us as we take it for a spin to see if its the group video chat app we’ve always needed.
Meetings.io is a California based start-up that vows to make the world of web conferencing simpler. They’ve managed to build a lightweight, free, browser-based, peer-to-peer video meeting app. With meetings.io, you can connect with your co-workers, casually hangout with your friends, talk to your clients seamlessly, and more, all without going through any complex sign ups, bulky downloads or expensive subscriptions. It’s already had some rather impressive success, gaining around 13,000 users and 4000 meetings within the first eight hours of its launch.
Setting up a meeting is really simple with meetings.io. You don’t need an account to set up a meeting, though if you do register, you get to schedule meetings, browse through your meeting history and, best of all, get your own custom URL for your meeting room. So, it’s your choice. If you want to create a quick meeting without creating an account, just click Schedule Meeting to get your meeting room URL, share this with your friends to begin your hangout (for up to 5 participants). It’s that easy.
One of the most interesting feature that caught my attention is the built-in note book. It allows you to easily document the meeting minutes and share it with the participants or even print it. Another cool feature is YouTube integration – click on a YouTube link from the chat room, and the video loads neatly inline and automatically mutes the microphone. It’s a wonderful way to play videos inline without having to leave the meeting room, and comes in handy when you need to show a quick demonstration to your clients.
Meetings.io has a beautiful, minimalistic interface. The interface focuses on the user, making your conversations center and getting out of your way. Whenever a guest joins or leaves, the meeting room automatically adjusts itself beautifully. The controls in the meeting room are well organized, letting you easily add people to the meeting, take notes, and turn off/on microphone. Double clicking anywhere on the screen enables the full-screen mode, helping users focus on the meeting without any distraction. Local time, weather, and place on top of each video is a nice touch as well that makes international meetings a bit less confusing.
Meetings.io has done a great job and has certainly made online video chats easier. Every meeting is secure and the organizer has the ability to restrict entry only to specific users. You can simply reuse the same meeting place code rather than having to login and get a new meeting id. Best of all, it’s free and will work everywhere. With file sharing, screen sharing, SMS invite and mobile app development on the horizon, I can only expect that things will get better. The only major problem with the app, in one way, is that it’s built on Adobe Flash, but then, there’s few other ways to do 2-way video chat directly in your browser without Flash today. It’d be great to see an HTML5 based alternative pioneered, but for now, you’ll have to deal with using Flash to use meetings.io, or really any other online videochat tool.
Overall, I walk away quite impressed. It’s hard to believe that it’s just a month since it’s launch. Through it’s unique approach, meetings.io stands out in this crowded market place. I’d strongly recommend this to anyone who wants a web-based conferencing tool without having to get caught in the complex web of setting up complex videoconference tools.
Have you tried meetings.io? Feel free to share your experience with meetings.io or other online videoconferencing apps in the comments below.