Often we need to host or attend a live Web group conference that can host an unlimited number of viewers with live feedback and several speakers/presenters who can share their screen. Perhaps we want to also allow others to draw on that screen or edit the document.
There are many more options such as Talky, Zoom, etc. Here I discuss the most popular web conferencing methods that work for Linux/Mac/Windows/Android AND that I have used more than once.
Unlimited number broadcast viewer solutions
YouTube, Facebook and Periscope enable very high quality live streaming HD broadcasts via an API that requires just a bit of reasonable technical knowledge to accomplish. Google Hangouts only requires a web browser and plugin (or mobile app)–thus Hangouts is a little simpler to get started and has historically been the free business-grade choice.
According to GlobalWebIndex, 82% of Web users visit YouTube at least monthly. YouTube Live is free for live events with live user feedback and multiple speakers. YouTube Live is easy to stream using FFmpeg; i.e. without bulky complicated programs.
Google Hangouts On Air with YouTube Live free broadcast solution can share your desktop, allow multiple speakers, allow speakers to draw over another’s shared desktop or canvas. Users can comment in realtime to the speakers. The Live Event can be public or private for invited users only.
If you have users that have no smart devices, you could tie your Google Hangout to the standard phone lines via freeconference.com, which offers free dial-in conference calls for old-fashioned dumb telephones.
Unlike the standard Periscope app, Periscope Producer can broadcast from mobile AND desktop/hardware devices. Periscope can be viewed from mobile and desktop devices. Using Periscope Producer, screensharing is also possible.
Via the Facebook Graph API it is possible to live stream broadcast from a laptop. Facebook Live is growing in appeal since so many are on Facebook.
Full two-way conference solutions
If you want the audience/group to respond also with video/audio, these methods are up for consideration.
GoToMeeting put a lot of investment in their HTML5 web browser access, and as of GoToMeeting in the Google Chrome browser on Linux works quite well.
WebEx also has HTML5 platform independent conferencing.
HTML5 based screen sharing / video group calls for up to 25 two-way participants (unlimited one-way broadcasts with On Air).
Skype has a plugin-free access via the web browser, but currently Skype is limited to 25 conference participants.
AdobeConnect requires Flash player, itself also a historical sewer pit of vulnerabilities and zero days, even in the past week. Businesses and organizations are leaving AdobeConnect behind for modern HTML5 solutions.