With newly necessary (?) solutions like Twitter-style feeds for the enterprise and blogging solutions for CEOs-cum-blogebrities, it seems the collaboration craze can't get anymore intimate in the white collar setting.
Oh, but it just has. In an act of generosity of which we thought only Google capable, Germany-based TeamViewer has just rendered its remote desktop software -- a paid service, up to this point -- totally free for private users.
What does this mean? It means your colleagues can be closer than friends. They can be inside your desktop. They can play with your data while you watch in helpless unease.
But the good news is, you can play with theirs too.After a short test phase, TeamViewer's desktop software has been released as a complementary download on its website for private users.
The software is a mere 400 KB and enables remote control of a Windows computer from wherever the user is operating, as long as he or she has Internet access.
It's the standard remote desktop deal; the program just needs to be open on both computers. No administrative associations or additional installations are necessary.
When the program starts, the system generates a unique partner ID and transmits it to the partner desktop via telephone or email invitation. Once the target partner ID is entered, the computer automatically establishes a connection that can be remotely controlled by mouse.
The system also works through firewalls. If no direct connection between the two computers appears available, the connection automatically accesses a dedicated TeamViewer router. It's this capability that sets TeamViewer apart from most free remote desktop solutions out there; as a rule, they don't do firewall.
Aside from remote control and firewall transcendence, TeamViewer permits the transfer of files between computers to which no access typically exists, as well as presentation of screen contents. Viewing direction can be switched anytime, enabling a participant to view or control the information on his or her partner's desktop.
TeamViewer calls this "genuine online teamwork." We call this an invitation for mischief and mayhem.
But if you trust your colleagues with your life and pet project, rest assured that this unfettered exchange of data takes places over an encrypted private/public key exchange. That way, only the super-relevant can see (and, well, manipulate) what you've got cooking on your desktop.
Executive Manager Dr. Tilo Rossmanith expounded on the idea of giving the dream remote desktop solution away for free: ""Past experience shows [...] commercial users are willing to buy a license once they are aware of the many possibilities that TeamViewer offers, particularly in the field of customer support. In any case, the price of our licensed model is in most cases well below that of our competitors’ comparable products."
He added this step was a gesture of "great trust in the honesty of our users, because, after all, we are making a full functional version available here." What generous folk.
Previous versions of the TeamViewer software were only free for testing periods, with a limited duration of 30 minutes per session, significantly restricting any possibility of productive input or output on the program.
From its 2005 inception, TeamViewer has made it a kind of manifesto to "give your desktop wings." Thankfully, they also know when to clip them. Before you toss your hat up in gratitude at their generous remote desktop offer, note that one limitation has simply been exchanged for another.
Duration of complementary use has really only leaped from 30 minutes per session to a max 25 hours per month, an amount of time that private users are not expected to easily reach. (And if they do, perhaps they're more commercial than they think.)
For realists who know they're better off with a commercial version, prices range from EU 349 to 998 - or US$ 475 to US$ 1,359.
Take the leap with a buddy you like right here.