Microsoft’s SharedView – I’m impressed

19 06 2007

The company I work for has invested heavily in all types of software and collaboration tools to enable us to work effectively over state and in some cases international boundaries. We make heavy use of VOIP, Live Communication Server and Live Meeting to facilitate in this.

One of my favourite features is sharing a desktop, which allows you to collaborate real time on a document, or allows multiple parties to see an application and how it is performing (or not in the case of testing). This tends to work really well if you are all on the same network, but it gets a bit curly when different networks, firewalls and policies come into play.

Enter SharedView, currently in beta it is an application that allows you to share your desktop with others that seems to transcend firewall and network issues. Unlike LCS and Live Meeting, it’s interface is intuitive and designed to remove the complexity from Sharing. Once running, SharedView sits in the system tray awaiting an opportunity to assist, when activated it opens up and docks at the top of the screen.

Sharing can be requested in a number of ways, via your messenger buddy list, email and for the technically challenged, telephone instructions. Once a session is established, starting a share is as simply as clicking on Share and choosing the application you wish to share.

SharedView -  Share Menu

Each sharing session has the capacity to upload handouts that any participant can upload or download, a pretty nifty feature.

SharedView -  Handouts

Any of the participants can be given control of the sharing, so it’s possible to get that tester in another state to show you how they caused the bug with a minimum of fuss and maximum efficiency.

Two of the killer features for anyone who has suffered Live Meeting are:

1. The ability to see each users mouse pointer with a handy label identifying it on each persons screen;

2. When SharedView is sharing an Office 2007 application, Track Changes can be configured to be enabled automatically so you can collaborate and see who is changing what.

The integration with Office 2007 is pretty smart, with a new context menu appearing on the office menu allowing you to use SharedView easily:

SharedView - Office Addin

There are some bad sides to this software:

1. It’s still a beta;

2. It looks like it will be advertising supported – there are adverts, granted Microsoft only at the moment all over the software, which are going to annoy;

3. It’s a little slow, but hopefully that will improve in future releases.

All in all I am very impressed with the software and have been actively using it with members of my team and clients for the last week or so. I would heartily recommend it to others. You can download the SharedView beta here.



2 responses

21 06 2007

I thoroughly believe in the advertising supported model but I agree that SharedView is probably an application that should be user paid.

Check out the Ad-Supported Music Central blog:

20 03 2008
SharedView goes 1.0 «

[…] 20 03 2008 I noticed this morning that the excellent Microsoft SharedView as mentioned here has gone […]

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