A comparison of popular video conferencing platforms Zoom and GoToMeeting isn’t so much a competition as a confirmation of why the former has become one of the fastest growing apps in the world.
Zoom is cheaper. Zoom is simpler. Zoom offers larger group video chats. Zoom offers better interoperability. Zoom even offers a free version of its package, while GoToMeeting will charge you for everything but its 14-day trial period.
Zoom is the more consumable product in a video conferencing age that has moved from clunky curiosity to everyday business tool. Its ease of use and flexibility are the main reasons it has become one of the fastest growing apps in the world. It’s not perfect–the interface is bland, and the visuals top out at 720p–but it’s affordable and functional, and that’s enough to tip the Zoom vs. GoToMeeting contest in Zoom’s favor.
Zoom Video Conferencing
For many of us, Zoom is going to win this comparison on its features page alone. Its Pro package is half the price of GoToMeeting’s equivalent, and delivers the same HD visuals, screen sharing, messaging, video recording and storage, breakout rooms, and end-to-end security, while offering group video chats for up to 100 users, compared to the Citrix service’s 50.
There’s a slight caveat to that price-tag approach, however, as Zoom includes a bunch of optional extras only available at an added cost: toll-free dialing, webinars, and improved storage and group chat sizes.
The most important feature, though, is the list of services and apps that can be integrated with Zoom. These products expand the service from a simple video caller to the functional heart of an internal communication system. The list is richer than GoToMeeting’s and includes:
- Google Chrome and Calendar
- Microsoft Outlook/OneDrive/Active Directory
Beyond the features, however, Zoom’s dedication to simplicity makes it a little bland. There’s an uncluttered main video screen, with the basic controls only appearing when you run the mouse over them. It’s the same interface we’ve been seeing since Skype first became mainstream, and nothing like the progressive designs you’ll find elsewhere (see our Join.Me review). The visuals are good enough, although they don’t go above 720p. Conveniently, Zoom does include active voice detection that automatically finds and focuses on whoever’s talking within a group, which makes up for the drab surroundings. It’s a feature GoToMeeting lacks, and one of the reasons it falls short of Zoom in our opinion.
GoToMeeting Video Conferencing
In defense of GoToMeeting, all those features it has in common with Zoom make it a professional standard video conference platform. There’s nothing you’ll lack for if you pay the extra price and sign up. It’s more a case that that higher cost doesn’t buy you a better experience, and that’s where it fails.
In my own experience dabbling with the service, I can find only two real quibbles. The visuals were a little fuzzy on my connection, and while I’m always willing to overlook a one-off test on the chance that the problem is on my end, Zoom offered a crisp picture under the same conditions. Secondly, GoToMeeting has the same bland chat window experience, but places its controls in a separate breakout panel. That’s unnecessarily clumsy when you can go the Zoom route and have them disappear when the window is passive.
Those things aside, the platform is easy to navigate and meetings are simple to launch. As a bonus, you can invite non-account holders to a meeting by sharing a customizable link. It’s not as lightning quick as the WebRTC-powered Appear.In, but it’s handy if you’re hosting a special guest.
The bottom line is that GoToMeeting should work well as the backbone of a large conference room setup, or as a basic laptop or desktop service (both these services also work on iOS and Android phones and tablets). If you have to make a choice, though, this is one instance where cheaper is better.
Zoom Vs. GoToMeeting: The Verdict
Zoom belongs in comparisons with the big name video conferencing powers, like Skype and Hangouts. That’s an achievement in itself for a 6-year-old startup, even if it has strong links to Cisco and WebEx. It’s not on the level of the industry’s big in-room suppliers, such as Polycom and Cisco itself, but at the smaller end of the business world, it’s a reliable, affordable video caller that can be integrated with other workflow tools to be more than just a fancy telephone.
It will be interesting to see if the move to native video calling by Slack, Skype Teams, HipChat, and other collaboration platforms will decrease interest in freemium standalone services like Zoom. After all, why integrate multiple services when one has all you need? Especially if, like Zoom and GoToMeeting, there’s no great design or interface advantage.
But, that’s an argument for another day. For today, Zoom is a quality product at a reasonable price, and a comfortable winner over GoToMeeting.
Image Source: Flickr CC User Jason Johnston