Online meetings have become a critical part of the business world. Thanks to the rapid development of the technologies, you can now meet and collaborate with customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders remotely without having to physically attend the meeting room. You can conduct and attend an online meeting from any location with an Internet connection. You can discuss with your team from the comfort of your home, or even negotiate with a customer while you are in the passenger seat of your car.
So far, WebEx is the most popular online meeting tool. Even the term ‘WebEx’ has been used as a synonym to ‘online meeting’, at least by some people. Of course, WebEx has become one of the oldest online meeting platforms on the market, so we can’t really complain. On the other hand, though, there is GoToMeeting, a rapidly growing online meeting platform that is actually a part of a cloud that also provides other services. So, how do WebEx and GoToMeeting compare against each other? Is one better than the other? Find out below!
WebEx was created in 1995 by WebEx Communications Inc., but the company was bought by Cisco in 2007, thus is now named Cisco WebEx. It is headquartered in Milpitas, California. It now offers a wide range of products that are based on the web and video conferencing technologies, such as the meeting center, support center, sales center, and training center, and event center.
Meanwhile, GoToMeeting is a web-hosted software service for online meeting, video conferencing, and desktop sharing. It was developed in 2004, and is marketed by Citrix Systems. It was based on the screen sharing and remote access technologies used on GoToAssist and GoToMyPC, which are also products of the same company. The releases of GoToWebinar in 2006 and GoToTraining in 2010 further expanded GoToMeeting’s audiences.
Each of the two services has a platform-specific application that needs to be downloaded into each participant’s device if it is the first time they attend a conference using the said device. Both WebEx and GoToMeeting support Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. However, WebEx also supports Linux, while GoToMeeting does not. Due to this reason, if you or your team works primarily on Linux, you may gravitate more towards WebEx than GoToMeeting.
Both WebEx and GoToMeeting have a web-based interface. However, WebEx has the least intuitive interface of the two. Well, it is still fairly user-friendly, but the many features may make it kind of overwhelming for a new user. Someone who has just started using WebEx may take some time to locate the features and become fluent in using them. The various features are accessed through the menu strip.
On the other hand, GoToMeeting is incredibly user-friendly and easy to use. A person who has never used an online meeting tool before can quickly learn to use it. When GoToMeeting is running, there would be a control panel that sits in front of everything on the screen.
Starting the Meeting
To start a meeting on WebEx, you have to log in first to your WebEx account. Afterward, you can initiate or schedule a meeting. You then specify the people that you want to invite. Once you have finished creating the meeting, WebEx will send an email containing a link to attend that particular meeting to each of the participants.
Working with GoToMeeting is pretty much similar. You log into the website, download the client app if needed, and start a meeting. However, to invite people, GoToMeeting requires using your computer’s email app.
Both services also provide the option to connect using a normal phone. Both services have standard phone numbers for various countries all around the world, ensuring that any phone-based participant can dial a number with a reasonable cost. On WebEx, you can use toll-free numbers to connect the participants to the conference bridge, but don’t forget that it will cost you (since you are the account holder).
WebEx provides the Whiteboard facility, which enables the participant to create free-hand sketches and writings on a multi-page screen. GoToMeeting also has drawing tools, but these features are only available if the meeting is hosted by a Windows user. Both services allow you to record meetings.
Screen and File Sharing
Both services have similar screen sharing features, which are the staple functions of most conferencing tools nowadays. Both allow you to share and take presentation sessions, as well as to limit what is displayed instead of your entire desktop.
However, GoToMeeting falls short when it comes to file sharing. It does not have any file sharing feature. So, if you want to use GoToMeeting and also want to be able to share files, you will need to use a separate app. WebEx shines here because of the integrated file sharing features. WebEx can even automatically render some types of documents into PDFs before sending them to the other participants.
WebEx provides enterprise and modest-size licenses. The enterprise-size licenses are available on requests, and usually come with volume discounts. Meanwhile, the modest-size licenses are available in several options:
– The free version allows one host and up to three people to connect in a meeting. The audio is limited to VoIP, and both the video quality and application sharing are restricted.
– The Premium 8 allows one host and up to eight people in a meeting.
– The Premium 25 allows up to 9 hosts and 25 people in a meeting.
– The Premium 100 allows up to 9 hosts and 100 people in a meeting.
The pricing options offered by GoToMeeting are generally more affordable than those of WebEx. Of course, GoToMeeting is also available with enterprise-size licenses, but there are only three modest-size options:
– The free version comes in the form of a Chrome add-on extension. It already allows an unlimited number of conferencing for up to three people.
– The 25-attendee option allows up to 25 participants in a meeting.
– The 100-attendee option allows up to 100 participants in a meeting.
|- Good user-interface, though it takes some time to learn||- Very intuitive user-interface|
|- You can send email meeting invitations right from the app||- It needs your computer’s email app to send invitations|
|- Whiteboard facility for writing, drawing, sketching, available on all platforms||- Drawing tools only available if the meeting is conducted by a Windows user|
|- Has file sharing features||- No file sharing features|
|- Supports for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Linux||- Supports for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone; no Linux support|
Although WebEx is slightly more expensive, the features are worth the price. If you want to be able to provide toll-free numbers to your clients, flexible drawing tools, and file sharing features, you should choose WebEx. It also supports Linux. But, if neither of those advantages is a real value for you, you can opt for the slightly more affordable GoToMeeting instead.