Can 'co-browsing' trump screen sharing? GoInstant thinks so

Summary:GoInstant aims to create a more intimate customer support relationship via shared browsing instead of screen sharing.

GoInstant on Tuesday launched a public beta in a bid to introduce "co-browsing" to the market and alleviate some of the quirks with screen sharing, notably the requirement that you download software or install a browser plug-in.

The startup, which is having its coming out party at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, has an interesting approach that may be a good fit for enterprises looking for inside sales and customer support tools.

Jevon MacDonald, co-founder and CEO of GoInstant, said its application is designed to focus "on anyone working with customers." MacDonald said the aim is to develop an interactive experience where both the customer and support worker can co-browse. Typical screen sharing tools tend to be more of a passive experience.

For instance, I needed a few minutes to realize I could also surf the Web in this co-browsing arrangement. For tools like WebEx, I'm typically a mere viewer. In the GoInstant use case, a customer support rep could see what troubles a user was having with a specific Web application. Instead of working from a description of a bug, the rep would actually see what was happening.

MacDonald's bet is that the time is right for co-browsing. "Co-browsing is more important today given the adoption of Salesforce and Web applications," said MacDonald. GoInstant's other bet is that shared browsing experiences will matter more as customers become increasingly mobile.

GoInstant, which raised $1.7 million in capital in its first round of funding, is looking at a revenue model that will rely on channel deals with customer support vendors. Pricing details have yet to be worked out, but there will be a per user per month fee, said MacDonald.

Topics: CXO, Cloud

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Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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