Palbee: A Free and Interesting Web Conferencing Contender

Palbee homepage
Palbee homepage

In the fight for dominance in the video web conferencing realm, we have WebEx, the granddaddy who struggles to stay one step ahead of the young fighters such as GoToMeeting. But into the ring leaps Palbee, a scrappy upstart based out of Seoul, Korea who can throw a quick and unexpected left hook that could knock the socks off the competition.

Palbee is leaner than the big guys. And it is cheaper. Much cheaper. While still in beta, it is completely free. Sure, it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the heavy hitters, however, what it lacks in bulk, it makes up for in simplicity. Palbee sought out to be easier to use, and it succeeds.

Set up a free account, log into Palbee, type the title of your meeting, hit start. Voila. You can get a little more complex – but not much more – by opting to record the meeting (click a button), invite other users to your meeting (click a button, type in their Palbee names), and schedule your meeting for another date and time (click a button, enter date and time).

Other quick specs:

  • You can have up to 10 people in each meeting.
  • There is a limit on meeting time – 1 hour.
  • Palbee currently supports JPEGs, GIFs and PowerPoint files.
  • Cross platform – runs with a Web browser and Flash.
Palbee Meeting
Palbee Meeting

Now Hear This

Palbee delivers the one two punch with these features:

1. Their whiteboard feature – Every participant can gain access to markup tools including drawing and text functions to make notes on the image or PowerPoint file as it appears on everyone’s desktop. Currently, you have to take a screenshot to save those notations, but brainstorming and collaboration is easy to do.

2. Their conference room embed feature – While I’m not quite sure of the work application here, I was intrigued by the ability to lift some embed code of a Palbee meeting space and paste it into your Web site, blog or even MySpace page. This means that people can click on the Palbee widget and enter the same meeting room. Yes, this also means that if you paste the widget on multiple sites, those become multiple points of entry into the same conference room. So your visitors can engage not only in a live video web conference call or chat with you but also with one another at any time. Freaky!

In the Works

Some of the handy features that will be in a future version of Palbee include:

  1. A premium level of services.
  2. The ability to save the whiteboard edits.
  3. Inviting conferencing guests who are not already registered users of Palbee (registration is free).
Palbee Widget
Palbee Widget

The company says that Palbee was not initially designed to fit a market need – it was created to fit an internal company need and then they realized it could serve a much wider market.

When I did the demo with the company as part of researching this post, the camera feature did not work for me. The software was not recognizing my Webcam built into my MacBook. There was also the expected delay – I was in Alaska and they were in Seoul, Korea!

If you like Beta products and don’t mind working out the kinks along with the company, Palbee is a handy little tool to meet your next basic Web conferencing needs.