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Free Virtual Meetings With Slideshare Zipcast

Presentation hosting heavyweight SlideShare has just launched a new service called ZipCast, which allows you to hold online meetings and webinars for free. The service converts your slideshow into a typical webcast with with video, audio and chat with the click of a button.

The service is similar to Gotomeeting and Webex, with one main difference – it requires no installation of client software, boosting ease-of-use considerably. Another cool feature is the ability for any viewer to flip back and forth between presentation slides, just in case you missed something, although the presenter still controls what is shown to the rest of the audience.

How beautiful is that? How many times have you missed a critical piece of info because you had to take a phone call or answer an urgent email? All meetings are public by default, so anyone can join in, although meetings can be protected in the paid version.

SlideShare has partnered with FreeConferenceCalls.com, so viewers can call in via phone if they choose, rather than listen through their own machines. The video transmission takes advantage of HTML5 web sockets, allowing the display to be in Adobe Flash. As mentioned earlier, there is also a paid version, which costs $19 per month per user, has ads removed and allows you to make certain webcasts private via password protection.

So far, this looks like a great idea. Lets hope it can handle the bandwidth transmission demands of the video portion.

SlideShare Quick Tour – Summary of features & capabilities