Moving forward with Drovio

We are excited to share a new page of our story: USE Together will become Drovio on March 18! It's still the remote pair programming tool you love, yet providing a new experience of screen sharing and for us, the beginning of an even bigger adventure:

We've surely come a long way since we started off from the ground up in 2016. Back then it was just Benjamin and me in a very small yellow-painted office who wrote the first bits of the tool. Screenhero, a Slack-owned similar app, was still around and I kept asking myself: what makes in-person and remote teamwork different? How can we make remote collaboration a breeze for all teams, with partners, with clients? How can we make the experience seamless? Two points quickly came up to the table based on a few discussions, research and the available screen sharing apps in the market:

  1. It should be easy to get people join you on your screen.
  2. With traditional screen sharing apps, people just watch one participant actually work. Let's make all participants plain actors.

We eventually released a Windows only version a day of July 2017 and opened it to everyone on our website. The UI was terrible, a few bugs caused major hiccups such as a whole black screen each time you started the app but eh, it was out. And we were so proud of it! That day, we even ended up doing well with our launch on Product Hunt, considering that we started from nothing. The feedback we also got from those users was a godsend and completely different from what we usually heard.

We took another year to review our copy. Meanwhile, we launched a beta version for macOS and Slack had merged Screenhero into their app, or kind of. Usage climbed up, good signals were received and still great feedback as well that enabled us to improve the app. As you’d imagined, things quickly got out of control as people from all over the world were all suddenly looking for apps to work remotely with their teams. We were busier than ever, yet we kept holding on.

Fast forward to now, we’re proud to serve today more than 26k users distributed on all the continents, with a rating of 4.4 out of 5, for about 5k sessions per week, each session lasting an average of 42 minutes.

We’re currently on a plain accelerating phase and we’re targeting 20 people before 2021 ends.

New logo, revamped UI & new features

We've been spending the last few months working on great stuffs and I hope you'll like them. This includes a new logo for our app: we wanted something sober yet to the point and matching the big picture.

👩‍💻 Video conferencing will be part of that release as well, for up to 10 participants with any paid plan. Seeing your remote pairing/mobbing partners helps to ensure things are fully understood by all parties. The funny thing is that we had this feature in our 2016 mvp but we decided early on to focus on screen sharing and audio.

🎨 The next one is a revamped UI to accommodate with the new direction we're taking. This revamping will actually be split into two phases as there are many things we wanted to do but we didn't have enough time to. We thus focused on the major pain points you reported us, including how sessions are handled. We'll expand on that in another article.

Evolution of the app between 2016 and 2021... we have come a long way indeed!

🔐 You've been waiting for it, SSO (SAML) will be supported starting from March 18 on the new Business plan. This new feature will make it easy for all your team to connect and will also simplify team onboarding a lot as you won't have to manage it anymore from the dedicated panel: when people log in using your company's SSO, they instantly get added to the team.

🐧 Last but not least, our Linux app is coming out of Alpha! We'll make it available to everyone and the feature set will be on par with what we have on the other systems.

Behind the new name

Finding a name for an Internet business nowadays is incredibly hard. Yet, I wanted to transpose the essence of USE Together into it: we want to bring teams together, let them move forward on any task, any project, whatever the distance, whatever the tools/apps they use on a daily basis. USE Together lets teams escalate from blabla to action in no time, without any friction.

Considering that, I spent some times looking for words or synonyms that could convey the main idea, but the trickiest part was yet to come:

I eventually came upon drove/droves: a large pack of people who are united, moving forward together with one goal in mind. A few combinations and whois queries later, we eventually registered drovio.com.

New pricing

We've decided to do a little cleanup in our pricing and bring in more value to our paying users. The first step was to merge both our actual paid plans, Pro and Premium. For the record, the Premium plan allowed users to join sessions of other users who were on a free plan and get unlimited remote control during the session. Actually, only a fraction of paid users was on that plan.

We'll also be adding a new plan to our offer, designed for large teams that includes SSO support, a dedicated customer success manager and later, new enterprise-oriented features and services.

Both our new paid plans will allow you to do sessions with up to 10 participants ( vs 4 participants before).

The last change is on our free plan. Remote control is still limited to 30 minutes per day, but the number of participants per session will be limited to 2 and the feature set will also be limited.

Here's what it will look like on March 18:

On March 18, every user on a paid subscription, be it Pro or Premium, will get their subscription upgraded to the new Standard plan at no additional cost for the rest of their billing cycle.

To be clear, if you're on a Pro monthly subscription today, you'll automatically benefit from the upgrade (up to 10 participants, unlimited remote control on any session, even with free users) and you will only be charged the full amount on your renewal date. It also means that if you switch to a yearly Pro subscription before March 18 for you or all your team, you'll actually get a discount of up to 33% off for almost one year!

Fair billing policy

We've also decided to bring in a fair billing policy à la Slack for all teams. I deeply believe this should be the norm for any SaaS business and that users should only get charged for what they really use. Managers, VPs, C-levels have to deal with a ton of SaaS subscriptions for all their teams and one question often comes back to surface: do my teams actually use that app we're paying thousand of dollars for each month?

We could have implemented a ton of graphics that you would still have to periodically review, but we value your time and your people too much for that.

Here's how our fair billing policy will work:

Current teams will have the choice to either migrate to the new fair billing model or stay with the current one. The new fair billing model will require you to select one plan for all your team whereas the current one allows you to mix plans. The Business plan that includes SSO will only be available with the fair billing model. When you migrate your team to the new billing model, all your team members become inactive until they use the app again.

🤗 From all the Drovio team to all of you, thank you for your support, thank you for all the feedback you shared with us during those years. This has been an incredible journey for us, thanks to you. There's a lot of great stuff coming up this year besides what is exposed above and we're eager to share that with you all.

📩 Meanwhile, be sure to reach out to us at contact@drovio.com, should you have any questions or just want to say hi.

USE Together 2.2 is out 🚀

This is always an excitement to unveil what we've been working on recently. Yesterday, we launched a new release with brand new features we hope you'll enjoy. Download the latest USE Engine binaries here.

Shared clipboard

No need to share code snippets through chat anymore. Copy and paste text or images from or to the shared screen seamlessly. Afraid that Jerry might steal your illustrations for his presentation tomorrow? Disable this feature completely in preferences.

Sign in with GitHub

This is a fact, most of developers have a GitHub account. We're thus making it easier for our fellow devs to sign in to USE Together.

We've been already supporting sign in with Slack and a lot of users now sign in with their Slack identity. No need to remember yet another password, a few clicks and you're in! Also, they both handle two-factor authentication (2FA) and can be interfaced with your single sign-on (SSO) provider.

Retina image quality on macOS

When designing, getting a remote blurry screen is far from optimal. With this feature, participants get a Retina quality screen capture. Enable it from preferences, a full size capture of your screen/app will be instantly sent to the participants. Make sure you have enough spare CPU and bandwidth as this is two times the normal screen capture size.

Session toolbar

We've revamped the app client and removed the lateral panel. You now get a small session toolbar appearing on top of the client that can be moved anywhere. We've also reviewed the host session toolbar so it looks the same and takes less room than before.

Should you have any questions or feedback to share, feel free to drop us an email at feedback@use-together.com.

USE Together is now free for students with the GitHub Student Developer Pack!

Six years ago, GitHub launched the GitHub Student Developer Pack program to offer students the best real-world developer tools and training for free. We're proud to announce that we're partnering with GitHub Education and now part of the Pack.

Students are our future. At USE Together, we strongly believe they should get access to the best tools available. That's why students can now get the best USE Together offer: a free Premium subscription, allowing them to pair from anywhere, at any time and with anyone, as long as they're students!

How to get the offer?

If you're at least aged 13 and enrolled in a degree or diploma granting course of study, redeem your GitHub Student Developer Pack. You'll then be able to get your free Premium subscription here.

You're a teacher, member of a nonprofit organization or open source project

We may offer discounts to teachers, educational and nonprofit users. We'd be happy to hear from you and know more about what you're doing with USE Together. Contact us and share the maximum details about your project or organization. We'll review each case individually.

USE Together is coming out of beta

USE Together, the screen sharing app that lets you collaborate with your teammates from anywhere in the world as if you were all at the same desk 👩‍💻👨‍💻 is finally coming out of beta.

USE Together online beta has been available for free for about 20 months now and it sure has come a long way. We made it a point to listen to all of you and over these months, we received quite good feedback 👍 that allowed us to improve the app considerably.

From all the team, and to everyone who have been using USE Together since the beginning or have just started using it, thank you 🙏.

We're thrilled today to announce that USE Together is finally getting out of beta on Wednesday, March 20.
 

Continue to collaborate with USE Together for free


You will be able to choose between two plans:

Both of these plans will allow you to invite up to 3 guests on your screen.

Only Basic users who share a screen will have the limitation. You will still be able to take control of a Pro user's screen with a Basic plan, even if the daily limit has been reached on your account.
 

Manage your team subscriptions from your account


We made it simple for teams to manage their subscriptions from one place, with centralized billing. Add, remove team members and change their plans (Basic or Pro) at anytime. Each invited team member will get the whole team added to their contact list on the app.
 

New 2.1 version


Last but not least, some brand new features are coming:

📹 Record the session (screen share and audio chat) to re-watch it later on. A nice feature to make instructional/demo videos and keep track of what has been said during the meeting.

🖥 A new lightweight session bar will appear on top of your screen when a session is running. It will enable you to quickly change what you're sharing, mute your microphone, record or end the session. You'll be able to hide it completely.

🔗 Opening a shareable link will now ask if you want to join the session from the app (instead of the web browser only) if you have it installed.


Please note that starting from Wednesday, March 20, you will need to update the app to the latest 2.1 version to continue using it. You will automatically be subscribed to the 15 days Pro trial.

We'll be happy to answer any question you might have. You can reach us at contact@use-together.com.

Happy screen sharing 🙂

USE Together integration for Slack is now available!

Today, we announce that USE Together is now available on Slack. Communication is smoother when all your tools are connected together, so you can use all your apps easily from one place.

What is Slack?

Slack is a collaboration tool that allows you to connect and communicate efficiently with your team. It brings all the communication together in just one place. Slack also lets you integrate tools like Skype, Twitter or Evernote.

With Slack, you can create a workspace and invite all your teammates to join it. Your workplace is a shared hub where members of your team communicate and collaborate easily. Slack is a great tool for small, medium and big companies.

On Slack, your workspace is divided into different sections: channels, messages, search and notifications.

Slack helps teams to improve their productivity and have a better communication.

How to add USE Together to Slack?

First, you need to install the USE Engine app on your machine. Then, you can add USE Together to Slack. It’ super easy!

  1. Click on the button below:

  1. Click on “Authorize
  2. USE Together is installed on your team’s workplace!

How to use Slack with USE Together?

Before sharing your screen with USE Together and using these commands through Slack, note that you need to have the USE Engine app v2.0.2 or later installed on your machine.

To invite your team to join your screen, you just have to enter a command in a channel or DM. When you send the request, a link appears, just like below:

When USE Together is added to your Slack workspace, you can use commands to:

Invite your teammate through the USE Engine app:  

/use invite @slackuser or email@email.com

Send an invite by email (they’ll join you from their web browser):

/use web-invite @slackuser or email@email.com

Generate an invite link (they’ll join you from their web browser):

/use web-invite

Make a call only:  

/use invite @slackuser or email@email.com audio-only

Switch back to screen sharing when inviting:

/use invite @slackuser or email@email.com screen

Add a contact to your contact list:

/use add @slackuser or email@email.com

You are now ready to use USE Together from Slack! If you have any question, feel free to send us feedback at contact@use-together.com. Your feedback is deeply appreciated. We want to give you the best screen sharing experience.

Happy screen sharing with USE Together… and Slack!

How to get started with USE Together?

First time sharing a screen with USE Together? We’re here to help! If you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few helpful things to know. Ready to get started?  

What is USE Together?

You would like to work with your team on the same machine in real time even if you’re away from them? USE Together is meant for you!

USE Together is a collaborative screen sharing solution easy to use and available on both Windows and Mac.

Several studies have shown that remote work, contrary to traditional ways of working in an office, is more efficient and increases productivity. In May 2018, a study released by Zug, Switzerland-based office provider IWG found that 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week, while 53% work remotely for at least half of the week. (Source : www.cnbc.com)

Some remote workers sometimes need to work with their colleagues even if they are not in the same room. In this case, working all together on the very same machine, on the same project, at the same time, instead of using several different machines, can increase greatly your productivity. Everyone can thus modify a document simultaneously on a same virtual workplace. No need to send it over and over again each time your team needs to modify it! With USE Together, you can work remotely with your teammates on the very same machine. All they need is a device connected to the Internet… and nothing else!  Pretty awesome, right?

USE Together enables you to simply share your screen with your team (colleagues, collaborators, friends, customers, etc.) and gives them access to your desktop. If someone is making trouble on your desktop, don’t worry, you can quickly take back the control. Your teammates can interact with all your applications, write whatever they want, watch videos with you and many other things. Your computer becomes a real collaborative workplace. USE Together can be used for everything and brings you a more intuitive working experience to create amazing things.

Why choosing USE Together?

USE Together offers many features to give you the best screen sharing experience. We are sure you will enjoy them:

User-friendly interface: The application includes an easy-to-use contact list. You can manage your contacts: add a new contact, know when they are available or not, send text messages, voice chat and start a session with them with just one click.

Multiple mouse cursors: After starting a session, you and your team can see what you’re doing all together on your desktop in real time thanks to the multiple mouse cursors system. That’s even better than if you were sitting at the same desk, right?

Messaging zone: Communication is the best way to improve the quality of your collaborative work. During a session, you can therefore communicate with your team by sending them instant messages. You can send messages to just one of your contacts or to your whole team during a session. You also have the ability to send files to your team.

Audio chat: For a more natural way of communication, you can also directly talk with your team in real time! With USE Together, speak with your team to drive easily your session and guide your teammates in the best way without being physically next to them.

Web Browser access: If your teammates don’t want to install the USE Engine app or to subscribe, don’t worry, we also have a solution. Your team can indeed access your session through a simple web browser. Note that USE Together is compatible with the most popular ones: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari 11+.

Share what you want: You certainly don’t want your team to see your private files during a session. You can share just one app instead of your whole screen if you prefer: graphics editor, IDE, presentation software, videos, email and so on.

Swap: Quickly take the presenter role with the Swap feature. If your teammate is sharing their screen, you can in turn share yours with just one click.

Low latency: USE Together supports hardware encoding to offer you a low latency experience. No more 5 FPS screen sharing sessions, you can watch videos with all your team in real time!

Privacy Aware: USE Together respects your privacy and ensures the protection of your data. Indeed, 95% of the screen sharing sessions are made through a P2P (peer-to-peer) architecture, with no gateway between the shared screen and the clients accessing it. The last 5% are when a restrictive firewall or NAT configuration prevents a direct connection: in this case, our own relay servers are used as gateways but the communication can still only be decrypted on each end. Thus, we cannot see anything even if we wanted to.

You can install USE Together on both Windows and Mac devices. You can use it for your personal activities, for your studies or even for work. USE Together was designed to meet all your needs!

Get started with USE Together!

First of all, to start a session on your computer (as the presenter), you need to download and install USE Engine, available for both Windows and Mac users. All USE Together features are available with the USE Engine app.

The app also allows you to easily get in touch with your teammates, partners or customers. Through a web browser, you can only join an ongoing session but you can’t start a session.

After installing USE Engine, you have to create an account. To do so, all you need is an email address. After signing in, you’re all set to start your first session.

Start your first session.

Now you’re ready to start a session on USE Together. You can invite whoever you want. There are three different ways to invite people on your screen: directly in USE Engine, by sending them an email or with a simple link that you can copy and paste.

USE Together is also ideal to pair remotely with a colleague who has already USE Engine installed on their machine, you can invite them from your contact list, they will join you on your screen directly from the app.

You want to invite someone else on your ongoing session? You can add someone during a session through the app.

With USE Together, you can also send a request to join your screen to people who don’t have USE Engine app installed. You can either invite them by entering their email or simply copy and paste the link to your session. They will then be able to join your screen directly through their web browser.

Once you start a session, your team can do anything on your desktop. Don’t worry though, you can easily take back the control of your screen whenever you want.

Now that you’re ready to try USE Together, you can download it here!

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Happy screen sharing!

USE Together 2.0 is finally out! 🙌🏻 🚀

 

We are pleased to announce that USE Together 2.0 is now officially out. USE Together is a collaborative screen sharing solution enabling you to share your screen with all your team in real time.

Back in 2015, Screenhero, famous collaborative screen sharing tool, was acquired / bought by Slack. Two years later, there was no other standalone tool to pair effectively. Screenhero was fully shut down last December after integrating some of its features in Slack.

Last year, we launched USE Together, only available on Windows at this moment. Initially created for professionals needing to collaborate on remote desktop environments, we finally decided to release it to everyone. We also released a Mac version in closed alpha few months later. We took a different approach to what Screenhero was and before it was shutdown.

USE Together is now available in beta for Windows and Mac! This new version offers you many new features to improve your screen sharing experience.

With the previous version of USE Together, we offered a simple way to join a screen through a web browser without having to download anything nor having to subscribe to anything.

Although joining someone's screen on a web browser is pretty cool, but the experience can be limited as there are many things that just cannot be done with it, mainly for "security" reasons (hello alt-tab / cmd-tab).

We heard you and make our best to improve your user experience. We are glad to introduce our new user interface. From now on, you can invite your team to join your screen directly from your contact list.

🙏🏻 Thank you for all your support!

First of all, we thank you for helping us to improve USE Together. You were many to send us very valuable feedback. We have heard you and we decided to rebuild USE Together, to bring you a better experience. We aim to make it the best pair programming and collaboration tool in the world!

USE Together 2.0 User Interface

Here are the brand new features and enhancements you can try now with USE Together 2.0:

🤝Contact list Integration

Our new interface /UI has now a contact list so you can easily keep in touch with your teammates. Now, you can know when they are online and share a screen with a single click. We also added instant messaging and audio chat to improve your ex

perience with USE Together.

👨🏻‍💻 Join someone directly from the app

With USE Together 2.0, when you share a screen with your contacts, they'll receive an invite and they'll be able to join you directly from the app, without having to launch a web browser. All keyboard combos are now supported.

🔄 Presenter swap

We build a new feature in USE Together version 2.0. You can now swap at anytime the presenter role and thus who shares their screen / app.

💻 Also available on MacOS now!

USE Together 2.0 is available on Windows and MacOS for everyone. If you’re a Linux user, don’t worry ! Windows and MacOS users will still be able to invite linux people with a link through a web browser.

New UI and experience

We have totally revamped USE Together with a brand new UI to bring you a new, smoother collaborative experience with all the features above.

Download USE Together here!

We hope that you will enjoy sharing your screen with USE Together! 💥

If you have any questions or if you want to send us feedback, don’t hesitate to contact us at contact@use-together.com.