What is co-browsing?
Co-browsing, or collaborative browsing, is a technology that allows multiple individuals to simultaneously navigate, interact with, and view the same web page or digital document, regardless of their physical locations. This real-time sharing can be facilitated without any downloads or installations, making it convenient and user-friendly.
Co-browsing works by replicating the actions of one user (the presenter or guide) on the browsers of the other participants. The presenter's browser sends its Document Object Model (DOM) to the co-browsing server, which then replicates these actions onto the participant's browser. It's crucial to note that co-browsing only shares the specific webpage or document in view, not the entire screen, enhancing user privacy.
Who uses co-browsing?
Co-browsing technology is used across a variety of sectors and scenarios. Here are some examples:
Banking and Finance
Education and Training
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Travel and Hospitality
In essence, co-browsing is used by anyone looking to provide a more personalized, interactive, and immediate form of online assistance or collaboration.
Is co-browsing secure?
Yes, co-browsing can be secure, provided it is implemented correctly with appropriate safeguards. Here are some key security features associated with co-browsing:
Data Masking: Co-browsing solutions often include data masking capabilities. This means that sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers, can be hidden from the view of the person assisting. This is critical in maintaining privacy and ensuring sensitive data is not shared.
Session-Specific: Each co-browsing session is unique and usually expires once the session ends. This means that the person assisting cannot re-access the user's screen after the session without new explicit permission from the user.
User Control: Users maintain control over their browsing during a co-browsing session. They can typically end the session at any time, ensuring that the shared browsing experience is consensual and can be halted at any moment.
Restricted Access: Co-browsing only shares the specific web page in view, not the entire screen or other tabs. This limits the access the person assisting has to only what is necessary.
How do we implement co-browsing?
Here's a step-by-step guide to implementing HelloScreen co-browsing on your website:
Create an Account: Visit the HelloScreen website and create an account. We offer a trial period which you can use to test the service.
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Integration: HelloScreen can integrate with various live chat and customer support platforms like Intercom, Zendesk, and LiveChat. These integrations can usually be set up through the HelloScreen dashboard in your account settings.
Usage: Once HelloScreen is installed and integrated, you can start a co-browsing session directly from your integrated chat platform or from the HelloScreen dashboard. During a live chat with a customer, you will see an option to 'See Screen' or 'Start Co-browsing' (the exact wording may vary depending on your chat platform). Clicking this option will start the co-browsing session.
Permissions and Privacy: HelloScreen includes features to protect user privacy, such as data masking for sensitive fields. You can manage these features in the HelloScreen dashboard.
Training: Make sure your customer support team is trained on how to use HelloScreen effectively and appropriately. This includes understanding how to initiate and end sessions, how to navigate the user's screen, and how to respect user privacy during co-browsing sessions.
How is co-browsing different from screen sharing?
Co-browsing and screen sharing are both collaborative tools, but they differ in several key ways:
Control and Interactivity: In co-browsing, both users can interact with the same web page simultaneously. This is not usually the case with screen sharing, where typically only the person sharing their screen can control the navigation and interaction.
Scope: Co-browsing only shares a specific web page or application, not the entire screen. On the other hand, screen sharing typically shows everything on the sharer's screen, including other applications and notifications, which can pose privacy concerns.
Software Installation: Co-browsing usually doesn't require any additional software installations or downloads on the part of the user as it operates through the web browser. In contrast, screen sharing often requires both parties to install specific software or plugins.
Data Masking: Co-browsing tools often have built-in features to hide sensitive information (like passwords or credit card numbers) on the shared page. Screen sharing does not inherently have this capability, potentially exposing sensitive information.
Performance: Co-browsing tends to be less resource-intensive, as it only needs to transmit the data of a specific web page or application, while screen sharing may require more bandwidth and processing power to transmit the entire screen.
Security: Co-browsing is generally more secure, as it limits the shared view to a specific web page and often includes end-to-end encryption. Screen sharing can potentially expose more data and may or may not have strong encryption, depending on the tool used.