Please note that Microsoft Windows Meeting Space has been discontinued and is no longer available. You can read our old review of Microsoft Windows Meeting Space below, or check out the rest of the Web Conferencing Services we've reviewed.
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Windows Meeting Space is a handy tool that comes as part of Windows Vista. It allows you to share what's on your screen with up to 9 other people and collaborate with them on projects and documents. As an unexpected extra it's fine and works reasonably well, but it's not something you want to go upgrading your version of Windows just to get.
The idea behind Windows Meeting Space is that it allows groups of people to sit down face to face with their laptops and collaborate on the same document without all being around the same computer. Of course, it can also be used with other people on your network who may be many miles away, but you will get the most out of it by using it in the same room as the rest of the people in the meeting. It essentially allows everyone to see your screen and gives them the ability to edit documents and work on different versions.
Aside from the built in text chat functionality there is no other form of communication supported by Windows Meeting Space. This shouldn't be a problem however, as it is really intended to be used in the same room so that you can communicate face to face with your guests. This makes it ideal for giving presentations to a small group of people if there is no overhead projector nearby.
While all this sounds great in theory, like most Microsoft products, it doesn't always work so great in practice. The application can run over an existing network, or, in the case of people collaborating with their laptops where no network is available, it should create an ad-hoc wireless network. While it does seem easy enough on an existing network (assuming your firewall lets it through) we had a lot of trouble getting it to work over an ad-hoc wireless network.
Windows Meeting Space is a handy tool to have as part of your operating system. It doesn't have enough features to make it a fully fledged web conferencing system, but for quick meetings to discuss a document or project it does the job. It is a bit buggy, but once you manage to get it to work through your network and firewall set up it usually works fine.
Please note that Microsoft Windows Meeting Space has now been discontinued.