To place a call, choose from the options on the Call menu. You can either initiate a call to a person directly by choosing New Call, or you can go to the directory and look through the list of people currently online with NetMeeting. The directory listing shows you some information about each person, including an icon that indicates if the person has a video camera. You can also choose to Host a Meeting, which multiple people can then join for a conference call. NetMeeting remembers who you called and stores them in a history folder for easy access in the future. You can also set up a speed dial list or select people from your Windows address book.
Once you have a call established, you can of course talk to each other and see each other if you have a camera. The sound quality is normally pretty decent, just like a telephone. The picture quality depends on how busy the server is, how fast your Internet connection is and whether you choose to receive faster video or better quality in the video preferences. But NetMeeting offers several additional cool features that you can use during a call.
Chat – You can chat with others in a NetMeeting call, just like a regular chat program, such as IRC, by typing back and forth.
Share – You can share applications on your PC and let other NetMeeting users use a program on your PC.
Whiteboard – You can draw and paint on a whiteboard with others, making sketches, drawing plans, whatever.
File Transfer – You can transfer files, such as Word documents or pictures, to somebody participating in the call.
All in all, it’s a pretty neat tool for communication online. And now that more bandwidth comes into users homes via cable modem, DSL and ISDN, real-time communication over the Internet becomes an actual alternative. I have used NetMeeting many times to video conference with friends and family in Germany and really like it. Since it does not cost anything extra besides your ISP fee, it sure beats paying international phone rates.
– Alex –