Join.me – free desktop sharing so easy, even my mom can do it

Okay, that’s a little unfair to my mom, since she is a relatively tech savvy person who sports an iPhone and uses a gmail account. But the point is, the people at Join.me (the same people behind LogMeIn) have done a remarkably good job at making web conferencing easy, simple, and free. There are no accounts, no registrations, and no software to install. Anyone can do it.

As the computer person in the family, I’m frequently called on for technical support. Many times I can rattle off some instructions that are helpful, but nothing is more frustrating than trying to interpret someone’s vague explanations about what they see on their screen or trying to talk them through a series of program launches, menu commands, and option changes. If I was there in front of the computer, I could solve it in five seconds.

For people in my “tier-one” technical support crew, like my wife or my sister-in-law, I had taken to installing LogMeIn on their machines so that when they had a problem, I could remote in and just fix it for them. However, this is a pain since I need to set it up in person, and it always needs to be running on the off-chance that I want to try to help them with something. And it wasn’t worth the bother for people who needed help only rarely or for auxiliary computers.

Now that I have discovered Join.me, I can forgo these LogMeIn installations. It’s really as easy as pressing a button.

Here’s how it works:

1. The person who wants to share their desktop goes to http://join.me

2. They press the Orange share button:

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3. They open the join.me file that it downloads (most browsers will give a security warning about opening it, which can sometimes trip up users).

4. They will now see the Join.Me dashboard at the top of the screen

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5. They email or send the link url with the identification number to the person (or multiple people) they want to share with

6. The recipient can now see the user’s desktop.

The person sharing can give the viewers control, making remote troubleshooting a snap.

The beauty of this is that there are no logins, no email verifications, no software installations, no interruptions with pitches for a more advanced paid version. It’s just free and simple.

It lacks some of the more advanced feature that paid-for versions like webex offer. For example, you can’t pass around presenter rights to multiple parties; only the person who initiates the session can share their desktop.

But this has certainly made my tech support life much easier. I’ve used it to help fix a problem with my mom’s gmail calendar, install dropbox on my wife’s computer at work, and more.

p.s. For all of the progress than social media advertising has made, I discovered join.me from a billboard on the Mass Pike. What caught my eye is that I couldn’t figure out what the actual URL to visit was, and it was confusing me. Finally, I realized that “join.me” was the url. Apparently, .me is the country domain name for Montenegro.

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