By The Connect Guru, Dave Walker
Because so many people ask me to tell them why they should buy Adobe Connect rather than GoToWhatever, I decided to conduct a thorough examination of GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar.
The first thing I will say is that I am starting my comparison with the 25 user version of GoToMeeting and the 100 user enterprise version of Adobe Connect. Why? Primarily because those are the entry level versions for each product and the cost is roughly the same. So that’s the first difference; for about the same price you get up to 100 attendees in Adobe Connect in comparison with 25 attendees for GoToMeeting [Note: To get the 100 user enterprise version of Connect you will need to contact an Adobe Gold Partner like InteSolv rather than signing up on the Adobe.com site].
GoTo has a feature it calls HDFaces which is essentially the ability to share webcam video. Both Goto and Adobe Connect allow you to share video from HD webcams. The primary difference has to do with permissions to do so.
In GoTo any participant can share their webcam, unless the Organizer specifies that NO participant can share their webcam; In that case only Organizers and Presenters can use their webcam. So if you have three Presenters who need to share their webcams, such as a panel who may be answering questions from the audience, and you don’t want to give other audience members the right to do so, then you either have to promote a couple of the Presenters to be Organizers (dangerous), or just have them take turns sharing their webcam video by promoting each one in turn to be the Presenter (tedious).
In Adobe Connect you can have multiple Presenters in the meeting at the same time, so they can all share their webcam video at once. Additionally you can specify which Participants can use their webcams by simply hovering the mouse pointer over their name in the Attendees pod and clicking the Enable Video option, giving you, the Host much better control over who turns on webcam video.
In my tests with GoToMeeting webcam video was not visible on my Android tablet whereas the Connect webcam video played through just fine.
Another major difference is that in GoTo, whatever you share is done through sharing your screen (with the single exception of webcam video). If you want to share a PowerPoint you need to share your screen. If you want to share an image you need to share your screen. Though I will admit that GoTo is very efficient at screen sharing, it cannot approach the efficiency of Adobe Connect when we share documents.
In Adobe Connect you simply upload the file to meeting room and Connect sends that data to the user. For example, if you are sharing an image Connect sends the image to the user one time. At that point the image exists on the user’s instance of Connect and there is no need to send more image data. But in GoTo if there is any change in the image on the screen, any movement or resizing, the updated screen data has to be resent to the user. The reason the amount of data being sent is such a concern is because you never know what kind of internet connection speed your participants are going to have. What if someone is attending from a hotel room or another country? If your web conferencing solution uses less bandwidth, those users will have a better experience. In my tests, sharing a video alongside a presentation and a pdf document, GoToMeeting required more than twice the bandwidth as Adobe Connect, and if you remove the video from the equation the difference is even greater.
In GoToMeeting there is no polling, no Q&A, no weblinks, no file downloads, no way to preconfigure content in layouts, no attendee status (I agree, I disagree, etc.), and no breakout rooms. I know I know, GoToWebinar has polling and Q&A, but I’m not comparing Adobe Connect with GoToWebinar yet, I’m comparing it with GoToMeeting which is a pretty close price match. What I’m saying is that with Adobe Connect you get all these features without paying the higher price of GoToWebinar. And even GoToWebinar doesn’t include most of those features.