CrossLoop is a new start-up that lets two people meet online to share their computer screens.
It is handy for those of us who have parents needing instruction on their computers – it lets us help them easily from afar. It’s also a useful tool for training people, for example in how to use software.
Its magic is in its simplicity. Other services do this. Microsoft, for example, offers a service with XP Pro, and there are a couple of geek-popular sites that allow this. But Crossloop makes things easy for the rest of us: First, it is free. Second, anyone can use it, because it figures out how to automatically tunnel through firewalls and other software obstacles.
More than ten thousand people have downloaded the Monterey, Calif. company’s software since it launched this month, says VP of biz development, Mrinal Desai.
Desai took VentureBeat through the demo. I go to Crossloop.com, download the software, and then I get a box on my screen (see image at left). I select the “join” tab, which means I’ll be joining Mrinal on his desktop. I type in the code he gives me (he has to be on the phone to give me the code, which is security step #1), and then he is prompted with question about whether he really wants to let me access his desktop (security step ##2). He accepts, and then I’m on his desktop.
The first thing I did was to go to his email, and threaten to open up the file about his company’s traffic numbers (see screenshot at bottom). He begged me to stop. Then I noticed he was flying out to New York to demo to the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg. Ha! We’ve scooped Mossberg once again. In other words, access to such senstive information means this tool should be used with caution.
Mrinal, in this example, clicked on the “host” tab, because he hosted me. He already had the software downloaded. The “host” tab automatically generated the 12 random digit code. It does so each time the a connection is initiated (security step #3). See image here for what the host status box looks like.
Crossloop wants to make money by adding features down the line. File transfers are an obvious starting point. The trick will be how Crosslink will emerge from “feature” status into a full-fledged company.
The company has raised $650,000 in a seed round. Investors include Jay Lorenzen, a serial entrepreneur and former chief executive of Shop.com. Chief executive is Thomas Rolander, first employee at Digital Research and author of the multi-tasking operating system.