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Web Profile: Glance Networks

Posted on 3.30.2009

Web professionals are stuck — stuck at their desks or in the coffee shop (but don’t tell the boss or the client.) That doesn’t mean they need to “appear” to be stuck, however.

Desktop sharing solutions have been available for many years. The problem is that these software offerings are often cumbersome to manage, expensive, and difficult for users unfamiliar with the technology. That will change over time as technology improves, but there are companies in the market that are making it happen today. Case in point — Glance Networks.

What separated Glance from similar solutions during our testing of the platform was its ease-of-use and straight-up, seamless connectivity. Built in a way that is not difficult to grasp for the lessthan tech savvy, using Glance lets anyone access a screen from their own browser without installing any software; an advantage that is not lost among competitors, Web professionals and the broader Internet community.

Say, for example, you are on the East Coast and want to display a demo of your new software to a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Just send an email with a custom URL, hop on the phone and start the demo — no logging in and no waiting for others to join. It’s in stark contrast to many other solutions that require a login ID and a password. Instead of spending the first 10 minutes trying to make sure everyone is logged in and seeing the same page, one click starts the meeting.

The desktop sharing solution will appeal to many with customization features such as personal URLs, simple (two lines of HTML) website integration, and even remote control. This enables hosts to share their mouse and keyboard with guests — an excellent feature for those needing to co-edit documents, collaborate on designs, or test-drive applications.

But what really makes this an optimal solution? Glance’s unique (and patent-pending) StreamShaping technology makes the experience, if not enjoyable, at least not aggravating. Participants can join in multi-guest sessions and enjoy the same viewing experience, regardless of their different network connection speeds. The StreamShaping technology continuously optimizes each person’s view to the speed of their network connection. The result is that guests see updates as they happen.

StreamShaping accomplishes this improved user experience by sending participants as many updates as their particular connections permit, without letting anyone fall behind. Those with slower connections may take slightly more time to receive updates, but they never fall behind because StreamShaping continuously adjusts what is sent to each person, based on their instantaneous network speed. If a guest’s network initially is congested and then opens up, that person’s view speeds up as well.

Glance provides a DayPass for $9.95 (usable for one 24-hour period), a solution for individuals and small businesses available for $49.95 per month and a corporate version which is offered at $249 per month. This flat rate pricing will be attractive to many, and with no contracts, setup or cancellation fees (and of course no charge for guests participating) it’s definitely a serious contender in the desktop sharing industry. However, with limited guests per sessions (maximum 100) it’s better suited to small-scale sales presentations and internal meetings than full-scale Webinars.

All in all, Glance Networks is a strong, reasonably priced solution that will be attractive for both freelancers and small- and mediumsized businesses.

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