Mac users haven’t had much in the way of screen sharing programs to choose from outside of “Team Viewer”, which has been riddled with bugs and instability prior to its recent Version 4 release. PC users have been quickly adopting a more slimmed down and efficient program called Mikogo, which is an easy-to-use screen sharing utility that allows others to view your desktop. Mikogo first gained widespread popularity with the release of its Skype Extra, which makes voice plus screen sharing an all-in-one experience.
On February 25th, the Mikogo Development blog announced that the company was releasing a Beta version for the Mac and was looking for testers: “We are pleased to announce that we will be releasing a native Mac client of the Mikogo software. This will be an exciting release, as it means that Mikogo will be cross-platform, allowing Mac users to organize, present, and participate in Mikogo free online meetings”.
While it seemed at first that the plan was to have a private beta, Mikogo announced only two days later that the Mikogo Mac Beta was open to the public and available to all.
There is a minimal installation process with the Mikogo Beta client. Simply download it from the Mikogo Blog site and unzip it wherever you decide it should go. Once you have that done, double click the giant “M” icon for Mikogo. You will then see the options to:
1. Start Session: Have someone look at your desktop
2. Join Session: Join a meeting and look at someone’s desktop
3. Settings: Enter the login details of your free Mikogo account
4. Exit: Quit the program
If you do not have your Mikogo account set up, simply go to the website and fill out the short form to have your free account activated. Enter in your login and password in the “Settings” section and you will be officially ready to rock and roll.
Starting a Session
Starting a session so that people on the internet can look at your desktop is a very simple process. For those who do not have experience using Mikogo, don’t think that anyone with the program can find you. Without the uniquely generated Meeting ID, there is no way for a person to find you or join your meeting. From the “M” at the top of your display, click on “Start Meeting” and the Mikogo client will contact the server to set up the meeting and give you the details to share with others.
The “Meeting ID” (incorrectly spelled as “Metting ID” in the Beta) is the number you need to distribute to the people you want watching your actions on your computer. Once your contacts have that number, they’ll enter it in and you will be notified that a participant has joined your meeting.
There was no lag reported with “Brian” during our test run of Mikogo beta. We were on an iMac using OSX Leopard on a broadband internet connection and he was utilizing Windows Vista on broadband. Our tests were extremely successful and we didn’t experience any disconnect or lag issues.
Joining a Session
We also tested the feature that allows us to connect to someone broadcasting a Mikogo meeting. Again, we used “Brian”. To join a meeting, click on the “M” icon and select the “Join Meeting” option in the menu. You will be prompted for the Meeting ID, which you will receive from the person you wish to connect with. Once you have it entered, you’ll see their screen working in real-time.
Impressively, Mikogo’s Mac Beta client pulled it all off without a hitch. We stayed connected and watched his desktop without any lag issues or connection drops. The performance was surprisingly fast in this one-on-one environment, so Mikogo for the Mac is a success as far as we’re concerned. For poker players, this really helps in the sweat session department (when you watch a player or someone else watches you for the purposes of education).