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[Software Review] GoToAssist Express

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Old 05-23-2008, 10:10 PM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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[Software Review] GoToAssist Express

This barely has anything to do with retouching, but it does offer file download and chat, so I guess it's justified to post this in the main Software area.

I got some tech support from a company today that used an app called GoToAssist to remotely take over my computer. It used a browser-based app that leaves no vestiges behind to cause potential conflicts. All the end-user needs to do is nav to a website and type in a 9-digit code that you give them (and that the software gives you). It then asks them if it's ok for you to take over their computer, and if they say yes you get a resizable window on your desktop that contains their desktop. Your mouse and your keyboard works on their desktop. They also maintain full control, so they can help or interrupt.

I found this so neat and unobtrusive tech support solution that I went to the website of the manufacturer, and found it was an enterprise-level "solution" that required interviews and evaluations before a price could be quoted, so forget about that. But they do have a free open beta of a new single-user version called GoToAssist Express. I tested that and it worked identically to their huge corporate version, and is free for unlimited use during their indeterminate beta period (right now guestimated at another 3 months, but who knows).

The main control app is Windows-only, but the client-side app can also be Mac.

This is kind of the opposite of another app from the same company, called GoToMyPC. That one let you control your own computer via any browser. This one let's you control any computer via their browser.

It's braindead simple on the other person's side, and like I said it leaves no traces behind that it was ever there once the session is ended.

It has a chat client builtin, you can draw on their desktop to highlight whatever, it can give you diagnostic info for their computer, and it can even reboot their computer and reconnect with you once the boot is finished.

Something that might be of particular interest to retouchers is you can also show YOUR desktop to them, so they can watch as you show them what you're doing.

Anyway, is where you get the GoToAssist Express beta info.

Here's a pretty comprehensive video review:
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:03 AM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: [Software Review] GoToAssist Express

like you, doug, i've had this used by a customer assistance group. in my case, i had an HP printer that was acting up and when i went to their live, online, 24/7 assistance site, it started a session similar to what you describe.

now, anyone familiar with 'remote assistance' built into windows xp, shld speak up here and tell us the differences between the product doug is displaying and the built-in remote assistance program that is part of windows. i know very little about either of these.

the other thing one should immediately be concerned with is security. a program that offers one user complete access to another user's computer, is naturally bypassing all security measures and folks shld be VERY aware of this!

that being said, the support i got from HP when they used this remote assistance thing was quite good. it does make it very easy for them to trace problems and even to fix them without you having to do anything. the product doug is linking to here sounds like it even goes one or two steps further over and above windows' native remote assistance in that it can reboot another machine and still have that machine connect back up. so, that's pretty slick.

i can also tell you that having worked in tech support for a while and NOT having had this type of program available to me at the time, it would be invaluable! and like the youtube video said, fixing your parent's computer remotely with such a product would be slick as hell and trust me, like the video said, i've been there i love my parents, but they are definitely not part of the electronic's age

so, bottom line, if you're going to use this or, if you're going to have someone use it on you, be EXTREMELY cautious of who you allow access onto your desktop and at the same time, if you're a novice computer user with a problem, this may well be the best way to get up and running again quickly.

and just one last thought here, if you're the person accessing someone else's pc, i wonder what the dangers are to you as far as virus'es and such from the person's computer you're accessing. i would think minimal, but i'd love to hear from someone like Gary, who has more experience in tech support and is more computer savvy than myself.
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