SharedView: Free desktop sharing across the ‘net

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My friend and colleague Garry Martin just dropped me a mail to see if I’d help him test a new Microsoft application called SharedView.

I say “new” because it only went to version 1.0 yesterday, but SharedView (formerly code named Tahiti) has been around for a while now – Scott Hanselman wrote about it last year and Mary Jo Foley covered it back in 2007.  So what is it?  Basically, think Live Meeting, then strip out the VoIP bit, and the hassle.  What you’re left with is SharedView.  This application lets me share my desktop (or selected applications) with up to 15 other users on an ad-hoc basis.  It works through firewalls with no configuration and, whilst a Windows Live ID is required to set up a session, connecting should be as easy as clicking a link to navigate to a web page.  Because of this architecture though, it does need a working Internet connection (i.e. it won’t work between two computers on a private network).  It seems to cope pretty well with disparate screen resolutions too – I’m running 1280 x768 and Garry was on a higher-resolution display but the downscaling was still readable.

And I haven’t mentioned the best bit yet.  It’s free (and available from the Microsoft Download Center).