Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Zero Fuss Web Video Collaboration

20110924_202710We’re in an era where just about everything can be done online. We also have no shortage of web-based collaborative tools, including those that incorporate audio-video conferencing features. Then, why is it we don’t seem to be doing much of video collaboration on the web? Are they just not convenient enough? Well, then you’ve got to try this: GeeMeow

What’s outstanding about GeeMeow is that it requires no installation and no registration. I think this alone pretty much sets it apart from any other web video collaboration tool. This is pretty important, particularly when you need to collaborate with ad-hoc teams.

  • “No Installation” means you can get started working right away, no need to worry about installing the right tools. Works right out of the box (with Chrome or Firefox).
  • “No Registration” means you don’t waste time setting up an account, or exchanging account details. Have you wasted time asking if fellow teammates are on Hangout, or Facebook, or what-not? Well, it doesn’t matter anymore.

GeeMeow works on WebRTC, which is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) draft standard to enable browser-to-browser audio, video, and data communications. This is support within the browser, so there is no plugins to install, and no external software requirements. Google Chrome and Firefox are currently the only two browsers that support WebRTC. This is the magic that enables GeeMeow to be a “no installation” service.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 10.05.31 am

Although it’s new, and it still considers itself in “beta” mode, GeeMeow already supports just about all the basic things you’d expect from a web based collaborative tool.

  • Multi-party audio video conferencing
  • Text chatting
  • Blank canvas (i.e. whiteboard) with various drawing and annotation tools
  • Load an image or PDF (either upload from browser or provide a URL link) onto a canvas, and use various drawing and annotation tools
  • Screen sharing (doesn’t work out-of-the-box with Chrome on OS X)

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 8.17.30 pmIt’s easy to see how GeeMeow can be useful to any teams needing to work collaboratively will find this useful.

There are some areas that can be improved. For example, the URL link generated to join the conference is simply displayed on the screen. A simple addition is provide the ability to email the link. A further enhancement is to enable sharing the link directly into Facebook or other social media platforms.

GeeMeow is simple, but it’s completely functional and gets the job done. I can’t stress enough the coolness of No Installation and No Registration. The point of  a collaboration tool is about the collaboration it facilitates, not about the tool itself.

GeeMeow is a CS3216 course project at the NUS School of Computing. It will be showcased at the STePS (School or Computing Term Project Showcase) on 19 November 2013 from 6pm to 10pm.

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