I’ve written before about Yugma, which is one of the best free online conferencing applications available. Today, Yugma has announced a new version 4.0 of its meeting application, which adds many new features, including a Viewer that allows people to join a Yugma meeting without downloading the whole application.
Here are some of the other bells and whistles in the new version.
I downloaded version 4.0 and installed it as an upgrade in about two minutes. As you soon as it’s installed, you get a prompt to sign in and start a session. The ease of initiating sessions remains one of the strong points of the application.
In addition to the new Viewer for people who don’t have Yugma installed, version 4.0 brings a Linux Beta version that allows Linux users to host meetings and share desktops. Other free conferencing applications are catering to Linux users, so this is a good move.
Another notable feature in version 4.0 is a Microsoft Outlook plug-in. Many of us Windows users out there have to use Outlook whether we like it or not. With the new plug-in you can either host or join a meeting from within Outlook. This is especially nice if you manage your meeting schedule in Outlook’s calendar and send out meeting notifications from it.
A few of the new features are found only in the paid version of Yugma, Yugma Pro. Only Yugma Pro gets improved annotation tools, for example. This is in keeping with Yugma’s strategy of offering an appealing free version, but more functionality in its paid versions.
Although Yugma does come in paid versions that offer features like meetings for very large numbers of people, most web workers will find everything they need in the free version. One limitation Yugma still has is that the free version only supports 10 people in a meeting. The open source conferencing application Dimdim allows you to have 20 participants for free, and Dimdim also lets you record meetings for no fee.
Still, Yugma is a standout for the instant messaging-like ease it brings to online conferences, and the new Viewer feature that means no download for meeting participants adds to that simplicity. Inviting people to meetings in Yugma has always felt very much like starting an IM conversation from a buddy list, and the Viewer means that you can reach out to people who aren’t on your list and don’t even have Yugma.
You can download the new version for Mac, Windows or the beta for Linux here.