Google has, this morning, launched a mobile client application called “Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android” which allows for remote access to your Mac or PC from your Android device, whether smartphone or tablet. The new app is an extension of Google’s previously launched Chrome Remote Desktop screen-sharing service, which allows you to share your desktop’s screen with other Chrome browser or Chromebook users.
As with its big-screen counterpart, to use the Android application you first need to install a helper application on your desktop or laptop computer. That app is available in the Chrome Web Store and works on Windows (XP and above), Mac (OS X 10.6 and above) and Linux computers. The helper app installs as an extension to Google Chrome or Chrome OS that powers Google’s Chromebooks. Google has been operating the Chrome Remote Desktop service since 2011, competing with the likes of LogMeIn and TeamViewer, with its appeal being that it’s an entirely free service.
Once installed, however, you’ll be able to open the app and connect to any of your computers with just a tap, manage them, and navigate through their files and folders from afar — like a modern version of GoToMyPC, for example.
Initial tests of the app seem to suggest that it works extremely well over Wi-Fi as well as with a 3G and LTE connections. We’ve known an Android client was in the works for some time, as there was even a functional version of the Android client available back in January, though it required that you compile the app from source in order to use it. An iOS version is also in the works, but its development is said to be even behind. Google has declined to comment on the existence of a native version of the app for Apple devices, stating only that they continually look to “experiment” with features within Chrome.
The move comes at a time when competitor Amazon is targeting enterprise users with its own version of remote access software, Amazon Workspaces. Officially launched to the public in March, this service similarly lets company employees access their work computers from any device, including Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android or Kindle Fire HDX tablets. Of course, in Amazon’s case, the goal is to make its tablets appear more business-friendly.
Google’s Remote Desktop, on the other hand, has a more consumer-focused vibe, which even had the company once touting the service as a way to be the family hero by “adjusting printer settings on your mom’s computer to finding a lost file on your dad’s laptop,” for example.
The official Chrome Remote Desktop Android app is available here on Google Play.