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One Click Online Meetings with Zipcast

Slideshare, the online presentation sharing service, kind of rocked the online meeting space last week with the introduction of a very nice virtual meeting/presentation tool called Zipcast that’s getting a lot of buzz.

Zipcast allows users to start a virtual meeting from any slides they’ve uploaded to Slideshare and present that meeting to an unlimited amount of viewers instantly.

zipcast from Slideshare

Viewer with slides, video, chat and social features built in

There is a free version, which is ad supported, but still allows for unlimited viewers, and a Pro version staring at $19 month, that comes without ads, allows for unlimited viewing and a dedicated teleconference number for two-way audio. With the paid version you can also password protect your presentation and make them public or invite only.

The biggest difference between Zipcast and established services like WebEx and GoToMeeting is that Zipcast runs fully in the browser using HTML5 technology and doesn’t require any downloads or proprietary software to run. Now, I’ve not tested the service with several thousand viewers or anything, but in initial tests the service is very fast and very easy to use.

Slideshare account holders can create a custom URL to use with Zipcast and then launch meetings immediately or at scheduled times. The viewer comes with built in video, group chat and social invitation functions that make it very easy to tweet or post a meeting to Facebook. Viewers can log in to their Slideshare account or use Facebook to log in and watch a presentation. Social functions are also available to viewers making the spread of ideas going on in a presentation very interactive.

Here’s how to enable a Zipcast meeting:

  1. Click Zipcast on any presentation you’ve uploaded
  2. Select Public or Private
  3. Start Zipcast & enable live video
  4. Invite friends on Facebook & Twitter
  5. Your Zipcast is on

There are some features missing from this offering, such as registration, email reminders and admin control, but for quick and frictionless meetings Zipcast should give some of the entrenched players a run for their money, particularly if they can effectively support that unlimited viewer function. Look for an upcoming meeting or two from me very soon.

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