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All participants can open a new tab by default. Whoever opens the tab in a session, owns that tab. All cookies from the web page that you have opened will never leave your browser. This makes your sessions even more secure and private.

You can see an avatar on the left side of each tab. That avatar indicates who is the owner of that specific tab. 

In this example: Nicholas Piel owns the Google tab, & Inessa Li owns the Surfly tab

Clicking the “+” icon in the top nav bar will open a small modal where you can either:

  • Enter a URL that you want to co-browse

  • Start screen sharing

  • Upload a file.

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You do not need to “ask for control” when opening or closing your tab(s), unless you choose to set up your company settings to not allow this. This makes collaborations much faster and smoother.

This means that multiple participants can each log into their private accounts (email for example) in the tabs opened (and hence owned) by them in the same session. Screens can be shared by multiple participants simultaneously in their individual tabs and easily switched between them.

Not just this, but whenever your tab becomes active, you are in control of it immediately. Only with your permission can anyone interact with your tab(s). 


In the top left corner you see an avatar of a Host. A Host is a participant who chooses which tab to make active, i.e., switch between different tabs.

In this example: Inessa Li is the Host, she activated the Surfly tab

For Surfly Spaces, when creating a Space you can define the eligible Host(s), so if the person who has created the Space is not around, you can still go ahead and start your session without them.

Similarly, if the current Host has to leave the session early, the Space will not deactivate. Instead, the Host can either assign a replacement, or a new Host will be assigned automatically from the previously defined eligible Hosts list.

Participants sidebar & admission

Besides switching between tabs, the Host has other privileges. The Host is also responsible for admitting people into the Space. This can be done from the “Participants” sidebar.

When clicking on the Host’s avatar in the top left hand corner, a sidebar will appear on the left side of the screen.

This sidebar contains an updated list of participants. The list showcases the number of participants, their names, and upon hover you can see the various actions available for you in regards to each specific participant.

The sidebar also contains the list of people in the Waiting Room. This allows the active Host to make sure that only the right participants will be able to attend the active session in this Space.


Control Permissions

As previously mentioned, when your tab becomes active, you are immediately in control and can interact with it. In other words, once the Host switches to your tab, you are free to scroll, click and key in inputs around the content of your tab.

No one, including the Host, can interact with your tab without your explicit permission (if participants_can_request_to_interact: true).

The Control button (Cursor icon) is emphasized for effortless control switching and is accessible to all participants for requesting control.

As the tab owner, a popup will appear prompting you to either allow or deny the request to control the tab. The position of this popup is determined by the setting options for notification_position

The owner of an active tab can transfer control to any session participant using the Control button (Cursor icon).

Note that when granting control, you grant permission to all your tabs.

Keep in mind that you can also revoke those permissions at any time. You can do this by clicking the same button (Cursor icon) in the top panel.

Video chat and Text chat

Video chat and text chat can be individually enabled or disabled. This setting influences whether their corresponding icons appear in the control bar of your session UI. This approach allows flexibility, enabling users to choose the communication channel that suits a particular moment or user flow.

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Through the camera icon, you can activate video chat, or send a quick text message through the chat icon.

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Once you have launched video chat, you can easily switch between different available video chat modes based on your preference at any given time.

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You also have the option to keep the chat sidebar open or close it at any time. Even if you choose to keep it open, it will not overlay the shared web content (except on mobile devices).

Cursors and colors

Cursors and the drawing tool now get a new look with modern icons and an expanded color palette, so you can easily distinguish who is who when looking at the cursors and annotations from multiple participants in a Space.


We are working on creating a more user-friendly and versatile video chat that will elevate your experience with Surfly sessions even more. Stay tuned!

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