Chrome Remote Desktop

Just a couple of weeks after a full-fledged Chrome Remote Desktop app entered closed beta testing it has been opened up for all to use through the Play Store. The completely free app will let your Android device — assuming it's running Android 4.0 or above — connect to and control any computer you have the Chrome Remote Desktop software installed on.

The client is simple, but mimics closely what you find doing computer-to-computer remote access with its existing Chrome and desktop clients. You can see all computers listed by the Google account they're associated with, connect by entering a PIN and control your computer from anywhere. You simply swipe around on the screen to move the cursor, tap to click and tap and hold to drag for selections or to move windows. The app offers a full on-screen keyboard for text input and a one-tap ctrl-alt-del button for those controlling Windows machines.

The app has worked pretty smoothly on our Nexus 7, but it's clear that you won't be getting any super heavy work done on a small screen controlling a full desktop operating system. For those who need remote desktop in pinch though, Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the simplest ways to go now.


Reader comments

Chrome Remote Desktop app exits beta, controls your computer on any ICS and above device


There is a possibility to control android handset from a PC.
It's called Quick Support (From Team Viewer) , just install the app from the play store onto your phone write the 9 digit number in Team Viewer PC client and that's pretty much all.

+1 for all things TeamViewer. I have used the remote control etc. for helping elderly FatherInLaw and others.
It is free for "individual" use. That means you have to choose private use only on the popup screens. Simple, works great, huge utility both on Android and desktop versions.

Just did, in Boulder, CO. Laggy, but not nearly as much as Splashtop. In fact, Splashtop has become next-to-useless for doesn't properly render the windows and sometimes doesn't show them at all. I used Chrome Remote Desktop for about 25 seconds before deciding that Splashtop is getting uninstalled.

Anyway, it's useable enough for me on my N5, but my primary use case is emailing files from my computer to myself to view elsewhere, or copying them from my computer to Gdrive to view elsewhere....N5 screen is a bit small to do any "work" on.

Ah! Finally! :) This has to be my favorite chrome tool.

Update: Just tested it out a bit on my HTC M8 and holy cow! That's the best remote desktop app I've ever used on a phone, hands down. It handled dual monitors like a champ and how you use the mouse makes total sense. This is a nice piece of work by google.

Oh, and it's totally free? What? Awesome.

Controls your computer as long as it's Windows or Mac. Meanwhile, VNC, Teamviewer, Splashtop all allow me to connect to a Linux host from my Android device.

So typical. Come on Google, get your act together. Linux accounts for probably 99% of your hundreds of thousands of servers, a significant proportion of your desktops, and ALL of your Android devices. TAKE THE LEAD AND OFFER REAL LINUX SUPPORT.

So what your saying it I can stream my desktop browser to my TV with my chromecast and control my browser from my phone/tablet... Sweet.

Works good, better than VNC and equally as good a some good RDP clients however with Chrome desktop you don't take over the session like RDP but join it like VNC so it's a great addition. I too would love to see the ability to remote control Android devices!

OK! The soluton is to create "Administrators" user group. I managed to do that using command-line. "net localgroup /add Administrators" and then "net localgroup Administrators /add YOURUSERNAME"
Remember to open CMD as and administrator :)

I was just wondering the same thing. This seems to be free even if you aren't on the same network as the computer, which is nice. I'm wondering if you can zoom in like you can with Splashtop. On smaller screens, zooming in is a must have feature.

You have to install a Google proprietary application on the remote server?! Lame! What data will Google be mining out of my connections using THAT?

Can anyone tell me one good reason to use this instead of an RDP client, connecting to the RDP that's built into Windows? ps. I have no use for "joining" a remote session versus "taking over" a remote session. I use remoting to control remote machines, not provide helpdesk support.

You might as well sell your phone, tablet, and computers if you are going to cry and whine about data mining... Yes, of course it needs application (Chrome extension). It may or may not be better then RDP depending on your needs and skill level. RDP requires port mapping and knowing your IP. Yes, easy to setup a port forward and dynDNS for us technical people but not for everyone. Also, RDP takes over the session, locking the remote computer, so it does not work well for remote support (if you want to try to train the user) or if you don't want to leave the remote device locked when done (i.e. media computer or family computer). Last thing I will say is that I have yet to fine a RDP client that works as good as this app on Android from a mouse and multiple screen preceptive. It's a great option for those that want to use it so don't be so negative!!

My apologies. The title got me excited that there might be a good free RDP client and then I was disappointed.

No one should ever complain about free software - including me. :-)

I have similar concerns over all of my stuff being mined by Google, but I live with it in exchange for free pure awesomesauce.

Anyway, I sit back and try to think of ways that I would maybe want this instead of something like MS's RDP client, and here's what I've come up with so far:
* It doesn't take over the session, but you already said you don't care about that
* Offsite access - you don't have to be on the WiFi network and you don't need to manage port forwarding and DHCP hurdles and stuff

There's a tool for every need, this one might just not be for us.

Also, as far as I know, there's no free (good) Android app that will connect to MS's Terminal Services client (RDP) on Windows.

Anything without a TSR running on the Windows system will require a VPN or port forwarding configuration. That's what the Chrome Remote Desktop gets around with the desktop extension.

In short: yes, but it has to be configured properly.

So far so good. I like the app, it takes a bit of getting use to coming from Go To My PC to remote right now. It is a good start coming from Google. Not to mention it will save me $10 a month which I can spend buying other apps now!

Yeah, Go To My PC works really well, but I don't use remote access often enough to justify a subscription fee service. This will be handy for the once or twice a month I'd like to remote in.

Yeah. Go To My PC is really marketed for guys that are in like sales and are always on the road and need an easy way to access their PC from wherever, and can't be bothered to find a cheaper way to do it :)

I wonder how well this would work turning a Nexus tablet into a graphics tablet. I'll have to try it out.

all well and good, but it can't wake up a sleeping PC, so unless you leave the PC on and awake all the time it's not much use.

This works beautifully when I'm on the same network, but if I try to connect from a different network I get "Unable to reach the host. This is probably due to the configuration of the network you are using." Anyone got any ideas on how to troubleshoot and/or resolve this...?

I don't get it.. how is this different from TeamViewer? (apart from NOT being compatible with my device, which is 4.2.2 and it's supposed to fall into the 'compatible' category)