Productivity tip: Online screen sharing and collaboration with Skype

This blog is not about software but is about productivity tips and tricks that work for me and my users so I might be posting about software - this time it's about Skype. Specifically it's about a feature Skype brought up which is not very new yet many Skype users don't know about - screen sharing...

Skype-screen-sharing

Quite frankly, I use Skype a lot - both for cheap Internet-to-telephony calling (I live in Europe and need to make calls to the States every now and then) and (mostly) for online voice and chat collaboration with my team. It works great for us, I don't even use headphones, only the built in mic and speakers of my Macbook Air, so my hands are free. It's really cool. And costs nothing if you call other Skype users.

Why is this "screen sharing" feature a big deal to me?

Because it just works. Within the app that I use (Skype) and my fellow friends and colleagues don't need to download anything to view my screen... and I can see their screens just as easily.

Because it's cross-platform. I'm the only Mac user on the team. Rest are using Windows laptops - I'm a recent Mac convert and most of my team is used to Windows status quo so it's ok. And now it's great we can share screens with a click of the button.

Because it's good enough. Of course, I cannot take control of the other computer's screen or do any of the "advanced stuff" but I found myself that in most of the cases I don't need any of those. I just want to share my screen or see the other screen. It's good enough. (and for more advanced stuff I can always use YuuGuu)

There you go - my productivity tip for you - if you're using Skype and want to share screen with someone or want to see their screen, it's right there built in and makes the project collaboration so much easier! We're using this frequently now with my team and it's a great productivity boost for us.

One more thing: Skype nailed the implementation of this feature:

They didn't come up with separate window, view or whatever with that feature, they just embeded the screen view into the current "webcam" view - so you can either see my face... or my screen... or my avatar in the Skype call window. I think it's a fantastic choice - every startup owner should look at this and see how you can elegantly add a feature to the software without adding too much noise or fuss. Great!

Do you use Skype? Did you know about screen sharing? Have you tried it? What else do you use for online real-time collaboration?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 (gtd,productivity,skype,tips)

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