Have spent a fair amount of time with Jybe 2.0 the last two days and am forming a pretty favorable impression. Yesterday I was a little worried after I spent some time on it with Sherri at UNLV and we ran into some bugs where we would appear to be co-browsing nicely, but would pretty consitantly lose the synchronicity after a while. I feel fairly confident that had something to do with the databases getting confused with the fact that we both run EZProxy, or possibly a case of databases getting confused by two different allowed IP addresses, but what I want to do is have a three person session going where one person is on another campus and the third person is sitting at home, as a true distance student would be. Then we'll all co-browse together and see if/when the other on-campus person starts to get lost.
What gives me more optimism is that Brian (I keep forgetting to ask his title, but he seems to be pretty high up in the Jybe product chain) contacted me yesterday afternoon and we spent about an hour exploring different databases this AM and not once did we get out of synch. In case you're wondering, the remote user does indeed need to authenticate; they don't just come in to your licensed database because you want them to, which is certainly a good thing. So yeah, a little more detailed testing is needed, but I think this might be a winning tool for VR.
Brian asked what features would make it an even better product for libraries, and as I ticked things off he was right there saying, "yup, working on it" for each and every one, including in no particular order, an annotation tool, better indication of what the other user(s) are seeing, perhaps by showing the URL they're viewing next to their name (you could then compare at any given point to make sure all were on the same page), some sort of virtual presence indicator (so if you had this set up as a virtual reference tool you could leave a link on your page that would inform the student about to click that you were in fact available.
I asked if Jybe could be integrated into a library toolbar and he said while it could very easily, he'd prefer to see it installed along with a library toolbar instead of embedded within it, which would allow Jybe to ensure the integrity of the product (Brian seems to feel very strongly that this product will never be "polluted" by adware/spyware, etc).
We both agreed that a VOIP component would also enhance the tool, as it's much easier to simply talk through a co-browsed session, but this isn't something they're going to implement right away, if at all, due to the question of which VOIP service to piggy-back on. Maybe someday.
Whatever becomes of this tool, I want to mention once again in public just how impressed I am with Brian and the folks at Jybe as far as customer service goes. Heck, I'm not even a customer and they're incredibly eager to hear my impressions and suggestions for improvement. Their contact page is at http://www.jybe.com/contactUs.aspx, and I'll betcha if you leave a constructive comment after trying their product they'll be in touch to follow up. You might also choose to contribute to their forums.
I still want to do a side-by-side comparison between Jybe and the ConVoq ASAP product I've also been playing with. They each have some distinct advantages, but I have yet to map them out on paper, as it were. Stay tuned, though it may be a while before I can get to this :-/