ScreenToaster is an easy to use screencasting application that lives in your browser. When we first reviewed it, it was still in private beta, but today, the company has started its public beta test and added enough new features to make it a viable competitor to Jing, one of our favorite screencasting tools. Besides adding new features, ScreenToaster has also retooled its video portal, which, as Amit Agarwal notes, now looks a lot like a YouTube for screencasts.

Because the application is based on Java, you can start it right from your browser, no matter whether you are on a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine.

Finally: ScreenToaster Records Audio

One of the major drawbacks of the first version was ScreenToaster's inability to simultaneously record video and audio. To add your soundtrack, you had to go back later and record your voice-over separately. The new version of ScreenToaster has done away with this limitation, while also adding the ability to embed your webcam into your videos.

In addition, the new version now lets you slow down and accelerate your videos, which is great for speed painting videos, for example. You do, however, have to decide on the speed of your video when you start the recording and you can't change it later on.

Next: YouTube Uploads, Flash and AVI Downloads

The developers promise that you will be able to export your videos directly to YouTube very soon (you need to pay for the Pro version of Jing to do this). Once this has been enabled, you will also be able to download your screencasts as Flash and AVI videos. It is not clear if these will be premium features, or if they will be available to all users.

Verdict

With this new version, ScreenToaster is clearly taking on Jing, which just released its paid 'Pro' version last week. Jing, however, is a bit more flexible and offers more than just screencasting.

ScreenToaster, of course, can't rival professional tools like Camtasia or ScreenFlow, but if you are looking for an easy to use screencasting tool to record a quick demo or tutorial, ScreenToaster is definitely a contender for being one of the best and easiest to use tools available.