In its latest beta release last week, Skype received a much more ambitious feature than it did in its most recent major Windows update, Skype 4.0. In addition to bringing back birthday reminders, Skype 4.1 beta introduced screen sharing.

While choppy transmission and the limitations of broadcasting your screen to one contact at a time makes the feature best for casual desktop demonstrations rather than for serious collaboration or intense troubleshooting, screen sharing in Skype's free VoIP application is nevertheless one more engaging way to connect to friends and colleagues across the miles. Since the application is a beta build, you may find the occasional bug or stability issue. Still, the frequent and adventurous Skype users among you will want to tinker around with sharing the screen using this popular Internet calling software. Here's our hands-on review of what to expect.

Skype will need some time to bulk up its screen-sharing element before it's ready for widespread adoption. Until it does, there's no shortage of robust screen-sharing applications out there fit for professional and interpersonal use. We've rounded up four notable programs in this screen-sharing collection, including Yuuguu, which handily employs IM protocols to swap screen views and has a Skype plug-in; and TeamViewer, which also integrates remote access and presentation modes, file transferring, and VPN.

As always, we welcome you to pitch in your own opinions about screen sharing, Skype 4.1 beta, Yuuguu, and others. Happy downloading!


Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.