Screen sharing can be one of the most daunting tasks for online workers. Granted, if you’re working with someone as knowledgeable as yourself, there’s generally no issue, and any number of solutions that will work. But in many situations where you need screen sharing, like tech support sessions, that’s not the case. Being primarily a Mac user, I generally just go for the built-in feature in iChat, although I’ve also used Windows Live Mesh a few times, among others. New startup Oneeko actually boasts “The World’s Easiest Screen Sharing,” though, so I wanted to test the claim and see if it wouldn’t solve the problem of an ability gap between users.
At first blush, Oneeko does indeed appear to offer an extremely simple and user-friendly way to share screens. On the host side, the app does require a (Windows-only) software download and install, although the application itself is a lightweight Flash-based program, so it isn’t a major imposition. Once you have the app installed on the host computer, you can either create an account to manage your sessions, or start a trial session without any sign up.
You can connect with guest users in a number of ways. Oneeko features easy Skype integration, which is probably the best route to take if you and the person you wish to connect with both have the VoIP app. If you’ve used iChat’s screen-sharing feature before, you’ll get the idea of how Skype-Oneeko integration works. Essentially, during a call, you just click a button to offer sharing, which the other party can accept. Note that the receiving party doesn’t even need Oneeko installed for this to work.
Another method, and the one I used for this test, is to provide your guest with a unique code and send them to the Oneeko.com homepage. They can then input that code, and once you accept the visitor on the host side, you’re off and running. You can also email a link to the session from within the Oneeko client.
As host, you simply drag the Oneeko window around your desktop to highlight want you want to show. You can also click the “Resize” button, which moves the last active window to fit in the viewer. Above is a screenshot of what the shared screen looks like as viewed by the guest in a web browser window. And yes, I am sharing WordPerfect X3, since it never gets enough love any more.
If you have a webcam and mic, you can also share that, although when I tested the feature it didn’t properly detect or activate my MacBook’s iSight camera or audio, though it did work when running Windows XP in BootCamp on my iMac.
The key to Oneeko’s success is simplicity and ease of use. It doesn’t offer any advanced file sharing features, or remote control, although both host and guest have control of a cursor so they can easily point out what it is they’re talking about. As a Mac user, I’m not thrilled about the Windows-only software on the host side, but it is a Flash app, so a port shouldn’t be that difficult. It does have the advantage of being able to run quickly, easily, and without any software installation on the receiving side, which are all definitely good points, especially if you’re conducting tech support with a relative novice. With a 45-day free trial of the Pro version (functionality is limited to the Free version after the trial period ends), it’s certainly worth a look if you still haven’t found a Windows screen sharing solution that fits just right.
What do you use for screen sharing?