Dimdim announced the fifth major release of their easy, installation-free* and open-source web meeting application today. Dimdim version 5 brings a number of improvements to the platform, including significantly improved screencasting, availability of trusted SSL session security, webinar widgets, synchrolive co-browsing, performance improvements across the board, and new reporting options. Some of these new features are exclusive to the Pro tier. To this end, Dimdim has moved all Pro accounts to a new, more powerful server farm, and is now offering a monthly payment option as well, both "at a fraction of the cost" of the competitors, according to Dimdim Chief Marketing Officer Steve Chazin.
Dimdim has made a name for itself in the web meeting space by offering a quality product not only for free, but also open source. This has led to organic growth for the company both in market share as well as in VAR integrations, including such commercial products as TimeBridge (which we cover here) and SugarCRM, and OEM branding for internal deployment in a number of big companies.
Since Dimdim lives in a browser for both the presenter and meeting attendees, inviting someone to a web meeting has always been as easy as copying the meeting URL to your clipboard and sending it to someone via email or instant message, thus being able to give people a destination page with meeting information. To that end, version 5 pro now offers a very functional widget that can be easily embedded on a web site or deployed on any of a number of social networking platforms, including MySpace, Facebook, iGoogle, and Microsoft Live. This widget contains all the information needed for an attendee to see, at a glance, when the meeting is happening (or if it is live already), register or join, and optionally to see a recording or view a transcript if the meeting is over.
Security and Performance
Both free and pro levels benefit from an overhaul of the Dimdim screencasting engine, the part of the client that sends and receives data with the server. According to Steve Chazin, Dimdim founder, the rewrite caused an almost 2x improvement in speed and responsiveness. In addition, Dimdim now supports full SSL connections for pro accounts. This means that web sniffers won't be able to eavesdrop on the session while it is happening.
Dimdim diverges quite a bit from its competitors when it comes to displaying web pages during web meetings. Instead of relaying a static image across the conference bridge, the software opens the presenter's URL directly within a controlled window. This means that live web pages, including rich media sites like YouTube, open locally and with no performance or sound penalties, while the presenter retains control of which part of the page is displayed.
Recording, Transcripts and More
Dimdim Pro allows a web meeting to be recorded directly from a button within the live session. Both the recording and the chat transcript are made available immediately after the web meeting is over, based on the organizer's wishes. Pro users can also request for their Dimdim sessions to be customized to show custom logos, messaging and entrance and exit pages if requested. Other features of a pro account include 2-way video support (with more to come), annotation of shared documents, private messages within the meeting and email support if needed.
Update: *Adobe Flash does need to be installed in the browser in order for Dimdim to work.