Unified Communications Featured Article

Screenhero Saves the Day

February 11, 2013

Y-Combinator is coming to save us from poor document collaboration with Screenhero. This new tool allows two or more people share their desktops and work together with independent cursors and mouse controls, as well as full control over the documents being used.

Screenhero works similarly to Skype (News - Alert), with a contact list from which you can send invitations. From there, users can drag icons to share documents or files, or just select their entire screens.

On the sender’s side, they then see another mouse icon appear. That mouse belongs to the receiver, of course, who is now viewing the same screen or files. From there, they can collaborate together, working on the same documents at the same time.

This uses a combination of Google’s (News - Alert) VP8 video compression standard, and WebRTC for network transmission. It’s designed for the developer community, particularly those in need of paircoding remotely.

Currently, Screenhero is limited in functions, with no audio or video chat. There is a possibility of more features being added later, but right now, it’s just focusing on sharing.

It’s currently available as a free beta for Apple (News - Alert) Mac computers, although a Windows version is in the works.

“Our long term vision for this is to make Screenhero your fundamental communication platform, eventually replacing Skype,” said J Sherwani, cofounder of YC. “Every time you have an instance to say ‘Come here and take a look at this’, you can screenshare with Screenhero. Even when people are in the same room, we’ve found that it can be better than physically coming over to someone’s desk. That switchover can be time consuming compared to staying seated and sharing your workspace.”

I can think of several great uses for Screenhero that most screen and file sharing programs just can’t provide. Being able to collaborate on the same document at once can save a lot of time and hassle for people, and should prove a very useful tool.

While it’s still in its early stages, we can look forward to seeing what becomes of this.

Edited by Braden Becker

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