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Virtual Whiteboarding Software


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I'm looking for a tool to facilitate some online collaboration. Specifically, I'm looking for a virtual whiteboard. Something I can use while I'm on the phone to engineers/customers/whoever at a remote site that we can use to all doodle on the same canvas.

  • Built-in chat is not required. That's what Skype/IM/the phone are for.
  • Browser-based software is highly preferred over something the users have to download and install.
  • Useful tools include freehand/line/basic shape drawing, arrows, and text annotations.
  • Being able to upload existing images and PDFs would be very good.
  • Ability to save/export the whiteboard and (preferably) reload it later is good (partially covered by the previous bullet).
  • Cross-platform is good, but not strictly required.
  • Cheap is OK. Free as in beer is good. Free as in speech is better.

The only thing I've found so far that seems to hit those bullets pretty well is Vyew, but I haven't tried it. It seems to be free right now, but they mention moving to a pay model for a "premium" level service in the future.

Has anyone tried Vyew? What do you think of it? What else is out there?

As a final note, does virtual whiteboarding software even work? I mean, there's no real substitute for standing around a physical whiteboard and screaming at each other, but do virtual whiteboards come close enough? If not, what do you use instead?

EDIT: I signed up for a Vyew account to play around and it looks like they've already implemented some of their "premium" level stuff. The free version still seems fairly accessible, at least for fairly simple tasks.

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Hi Justin,

I haven't tried this, but I noticed that WebEx and AOL have joined up to create a WebEx AIM IM client that supports some meeting-like features:

http://www.webex.com/solutions/secure-instant-messaging.html

Supposedly they have a free client that supports 1-on-1 meetings. (commercial version probably supports multiple people per meeting)

-Jim

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I can easily suggest you try Yugma FREE. It does most of what you are looking for. It's free. Allows you to invite up to 10 people. Cross platform. Chat, annotation, free telephone bridge. Real time and very fast. Pretty much all you need. I recently saw somewhere that they were coming out with a new whiteboard feature that improves on their annotation tool. Definately worth a look. Oh, it also comes with a really cool widget button.

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I can easily suggest you try Yugma FREE. It does most of what you are looking for. It's free. Allows you to invite up to 10 people. Cross platform. Chat, annotation, free telephone bridge. Real time and very fast. Pretty much all you need. I recently saw somewhere that they were coming out with a new whiteboard feature that improves on their annotation tool. Definately worth a look. Oh, it also comes with a really cool widget button.

The free version doesn't allow sharing the mouse and keyboard which are in my opinion the most important features.I do a lot of work while traveling, and I've used the remote assistance in Windows Live messenger. You can control the mouse and keyboard very easily on another computer with no problems. This way, a client or another programmer that requires help invites me to assist him, and I do all the work straight on his computer, control the hardware, and whatever else he requires. This has been very helpful.

The only issue is that a lot of companies block this service from the outside. Can anyone suggest another alternative?

-Ami

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Hi Ami. You're absolutely right. I needed the mouse and keyboard share feature also ... so signed up for the Premium 10 service for only 10 bucks a month. This also turns on a few other cool features like scheduling, shared files space, etc. Bottom line is I haven't seen mouse and keyboard sharing at this price range for an app that does all of these things.... like desktop share, cross platform, etc. plus easy to use.

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