The new version of the Chrome Remote Desktop app now gives you remote access to your computer from Android phones. iOS smartphone users will have to wait a while longer.

Google Extends Remote Computer Access Service to Phones

The Chrome Remote Desktop application can now be used from any Android smartphone. The new version, which Google launched on 16 April, allows you to remotely access data on your computer. It works compatibly with three operating systems: Mac, Windows and Linux. Since its original launch in 2011, users of the Chrome Remote Desktop have only been able to access information from their computer remotely from another computer. Google has now extended the service to smartphones, a move which will delight geeks who are impatient to get hold of such information as test results from wherever they happen to be. It will also please those who have reached the limits of their SSH servers for remote access to text files or folks who simply wish to show off their holiday photos easily when over at a friend’s home.

Data security

In order to connect remotely to your computer, you have to validate control authorisation using a password. To do this you need to install the Google Chrome Remote Desktop app. If the remote computer is switched on, all you have to do is open a new window in the Chrome browser and enter an identification number. You just launch the app from your Android device and enter the password which corresponds to the computer terminal of your choice. You will also need to enter your PIN code each time you connect in order to ensure data security at both ends. Google is well aware of the importance that people attach to data protection and has taken care to remind users that remote connections are secured by the SSL protocol supplied with the Chrome options. It is also made absolutely clear on the Chrome Web Store page that transit data are not saved.

iOS version scheduled for this year

At the moment the smartphone app is available only for Android devices, but Google is planning a version for Apple’s operating system, iOS, sometime this year, although as yet no precise date has been given. This announcement is clearly designed to reassure Apple aficionados. However, they can already access the same service via TeamViewer software and the Splashtop app, which provide remote access from an iPhone, iPad or Windows Phone. So if Google really wants to compete with these services, it will have to brush up its act somewhat. Only two days after launch, the first French-speaking users of Chrome Remote Desktop on Android were already complaining about the non-interchangeable Qwerty keyboard and were demanding an update.

By Lucie Frontière