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The desktop app and the Instant Join app are 2 different methods that allow you to do the same thing – join sessions!
When you use the desktop app, you will install the GoToWebinar software as an application on your computer. When you are in session, you will see a floating Control Panel that allows you to access of the features and tools that are available, as well as a floating Viewer window that will show you the Presenter's shared screen and the shared webcams of your fellow session participants.
When you use the Web App, your session will take place entirely within the Google Chrome browser window. You will not need to download any software onto your computer; instead, you will see your toolbar, shared screen and shared webcams all within the browser window.
And don't forget, there's a third way to get into session – using your mobile device!
See Compare Join Methods to learn more.