Logmein is a great product. Probably the best thing about Logmein is that it provides a basic subset of remote access features for free. In a small environment, you can administer and remotely control a number of computers easily and do it for free. For that reason, this is a wonderful tool and fits the needs for many different scenarios that don’t need to go and buy expensive tools. But, there is a reason why we have never featured Logmein in a “THAT great tool” feature, and it is the considerable dark side to using this tool as your daily remote access solution. The recent news of a free feature removal underscores this the caution that should be taken when buying into a company offering a “Freemium” product.
Summary: I take a look at the downside of using the free remote access solution named Logmein, including the recent removal of a free feature called “Desktop Shortcut”.
So, what is this “Desktop Shortcut” feature, you ask? This feature found under the wrench icon of each computer listed in Logmein allows you to create full link (or URL) to directly control a computer in logmein. This link may look like this:
Using this link, you may decide to shorten it to a bit.ly link or something else easier to work with. The beauty of the desktop shortcut feature is that it bypasses the requirement for a web interface login and can be used to save time when connecting to your more frequently used computers.
If you have previously been using this feature and it breaks, you will either need to use the main Logmein web interface or upgrade that computer to the “Professional” version of the Logmein software at a cost of $69.95 US per year (or less, if you buy in volume). It is not immediately clear when the desktop shortcut feature will be discontinued, leading to even more uncertainty.
Many users who aren’t aware that they are using this feature (because their IT departments have furnished links) will simply find this feature broken and unusable – leading to a large amount of frustration for users and administrators alike.
All of this leads to questions about the Logmein service. With removals of features related to group management, web interface and now the desktop shortcut from the previously free product – many will be wary of using this service. Couple that with an aggressive opt-out for recurring billing process, and you have a company that raises a number of concerns about reliability and commitment to the customer.
With the first quarter results of 2012 showing a paltry $76,000 in profit, Logmein seems to be getting more aggressive about leading (or forcing) customers into an upgrade position. This may be the time to look to remote access alternatives.
Will you be impacted by these Logmein changes?