Glance

Glance

The Session Information window tells you all you need to know, with Email and Copy buttons providing ways to pass your information to others.

 

Glance is a service that enables you to let others watch your screen over the Internet. In one sense, it's far from unique - Apple's own Remote Desktop offers screen sharing and control, for example. But Glance doesn't require your friends or colleagues to install any software, and it works whether the viewer uses Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux.

 

The service costs about $50 per month, and up to 15 computers can view your screen simultaneously (a corporate account for multiple users is $119 per month). That's relatively affordable, considering that WebEx, a popular online meeting service, charges 33 cents per minute per user for its Pay-Per-Use meetings - that means a one-hour, three-person meeting can cost nearly $60, not including WebEx teleconferencing.

 

After signing up, you enter a password and a username that'll be used as the gathering point: If your username is MacLife, for example, you'd tell everyone to head to maclife.glance.net. If you're hosting an event, you can download the Glance application for Mac OS X. (Incidentally, there's a Windows version too, but Linux users have to content themselves with being attendees; they can't host a Glance session.) When you want to share a screen for a meeting, you launch the application and select the Start Session command. Once meeting participants arrive at the gathering point, they must enter a randomly generated key provided by you, and then click the Join Session button. Presto, they can see whatever's on your screen, regardless of what operating system they're using.

 

In practice, Glance works just fine. We were able to connect to Web conferences from behind firewalls, NAT routers, and other network interferences. We could even join and host conferences with other people on the same network, something that usually causes headaches. All the same, the Glance application has various advanced settings for problematic network setups.

 

The Mac Glance app is streamlined and uncluttered, but keyboard shortcuts for menu items would be helpful. Glance doesn't have true Web-conferencing features, so you'll have to rely on iChat or another app for two-way communication. It also doesn't allow anyone to take control of the watched computer remotely, making it less useful for technical support. Restricting Mac users to the Safari browser is also slightly irritating.

 

We also tested the system with Windows clients and Windows hosts, as well as a SUSE Linux client, and again, there were no problems that we could find. The Windows client did require a few nudges, with a pop-up not appearing when we needed it, and it also required us to download a Glance viewer application.

 

The bottom line. If you're a small business, consultant, or an educator who needs to perform onscreen demos on a regular basis, Glance is a convenient way to meet via the Internet.

 

COMPANY: Glance Networks
CONTACT: www.glance.net
PRICE: $49.95 per month, or $499 per year
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, Safari, broadband connection
Easy to use. Works with Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Universal binary.
No keyboard shortcuts. No Web conferencing functions. You must use Safari.

 

 

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This is fantastic. I have to do presentations over the phone all the time - this is going to be so great to have. I am getting it!

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