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Google Releases Chrome Desktop-Sharing Feature

By - Source: CNET | B 21 comments

Google has released a cool Chrome app that allows one user to remotely control another user's computer.

Although similar free services are already offered by third parties, Google has launched a beta of its new Chrome Remote Desktop, an application that allows any two computers using a Chrome browser -- whether its via Windows, Linux, Mac and Chromebooks -- to connect with each other. Google said the goal of this beta release is to demonstrate the core Chrome Remoting technology and get feedback from users.

"This version enables users to share with or get access to another computer by providing a one-time authentication code," Google states in the release notes. "Access is given only to the specific person the user identifies for one time only, and the sharing session is fully secured."

The free service will come in handy for remote IT helpdesk situations. The helpdesk can use the Chrome Remote Desktop BETA to help another user either in the office or out in the field, while conversely a user can receive help by setting up a sharing session without leaving their desk. This could also be a great tool for managing a family member's computer in-house or remotely when facing technical issues (like I don't understand how to use this Facebook thing).

Establishing a connection is simple. After installing the app and granting Google permission to access the PC (on both ends), users are faced with two options: a button to share the computer, and a link to access a shared computer. When sharing, the app produces three sets of four numbers -- the connecting computer applies this code (without spaces!) in the access code entry field and hits "Connect." The app then verifies the access code and connects the two computers together.

Once established, the remote "administrator" has full control over the client's computer. The entire desktop appears within the administrator's Chrome browser, allowing him/her to gain access to the hard drive, type within a Skype window, change the client's wallpaper and more. There's some lag, but it's seemingly minimal after the first minute.

"Additional use cases such as being able to access your own computer remotely are coming soon," the company said.

Over on the Chromium developer group, Alpha (Jin-Chung) Lam explains how this connection works:

The protocol is something we designed and based on several Google technologies:

1. Bottom layer is p2p connection established by libjingle, this can be udp,
tcp or relay through google.
2. We use PseudoTcp implementation in libjingle to provide reliable
connection.
3. On top of that is SSL connection.
4. protobuf is used for structured data and framing.
5. Graphics is encoded using VP8.

Display 21 Comments.
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  • 14 Hide
    jaysbob , October 10, 2011 9:40 PM
    this would be an awesome way to really screw with someone.
  • 13 Hide
    burnley14 , October 10, 2011 10:12 PM
    Yes! Thank you! This will make fixing my parents' computers so much easier, now I don't have to try to talk them through it like 2-year-olds, I can just do it myself.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    Parsian , October 10, 2011 9:35 PM
    Interesting, it is always good to have multiple options. Chrome is seriously pushing itself and expanding its functionality. I finally saw the ad with the Angry bird on TV about Google's Chrome becoming more and more of a gaming platform.

    I wonder if they are trying to compete with consoles now that they have already shown stuff in Unreal Engine and talked with Crytek.

  • 14 Hide
    jaysbob , October 10, 2011 9:40 PM
    this would be an awesome way to really screw with someone.
  • 2 Hide
    dreamer77dd , October 10, 2011 9:47 PM
    Has anybody tried it? And did they like it?
  • -5 Hide
    mister g , October 10, 2011 9:57 PM
    Anybody know if Widnow's UAC would let this happen. This tool seems a lot less complicated then remote assistance, which is a pain to use if the person on the other end has never used it (or heard of and know where to find it for that matter).
  • -3 Hide
    drwho1 , October 10, 2011 9:57 PM
    jaysbobthis would be an awesome way to really screw with someone.


    Which is why I don't really care about this type of "feature".
  • -5 Hide
    mouse24 , October 10, 2011 10:05 PM
    this seems like a vulnerability more then a feature, imagine if hackers could somehow exploit this... :o  no more writing code to infect other files just make 1 simple script and do it with a mouse and keyboard directly controlling the "infected" pc
  • 13 Hide
    burnley14 , October 10, 2011 10:12 PM
    Yes! Thank you! This will make fixing my parents' computers so much easier, now I don't have to try to talk them through it like 2-year-olds, I can just do it myself.
  • 5 Hide
    ithurtswhenipee , October 10, 2011 10:15 PM
    I
    mouse24this seems like a vulnerability more then a feature, imagine if hackers could somehow exploit this... no more writing code to infect other files just make 1 simple script and do it with a mouse and keyboard directly controlling the "infected" pc


    I agree, although Chrome has proven to be a tough nut to crack so far. Probably a more secure option that what is currently out there.
  • 3 Hide
    drwho1 , October 10, 2011 10:56 PM
    burnley14Yes! Thank you! This will make fixing my parents' computers so much easier, now I don't have to try to talk them through it like 2-year-olds, I can just do it myself.


    This is a good example of how useful this could be.
    (and this has been available since at least Windows XP)

    Problem is that it leaves that same computer open to online predators.

  • -3 Hide
    sgtopmobile , October 10, 2011 11:26 PM
    i think i will pass, i am sticking to log me in, is a really cool app that allows you to FULLY control another computer, and it even has a iOS app called Log me in ignition, so you can control your pc from your iDevice
  • -5 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 10, 2011 11:50 PM
    Coming from Google, I am not surprised that this capability is available in Chrome. Perhaps it was a backdoor this whole time.
  • 1 Hide
    nikorr , October 10, 2011 11:53 PM
    That simplifies things for average users.
  • -1 Hide
    richgoose , October 11, 2011 3:31 AM
    Microsoft started in the OS business and tried real hard to conquer the search business.

    Google killed the search business, beat down hotmail, and now has the biggest fastest growing mobile OS...

    Google+ may not be the facebook killer, but it may be a side project compared to Google's Windows Killer - Android64 anyone?
  • -1 Hide
    maddad , October 11, 2011 4:56 AM
    Chrome OS won't be killing Windows. Android is the fastest growing mobile OS because it is free. (well free except for all the patent payments to Microsoft that all the handset makers pay.) Read the "Terms of Service" for all the Android apps; especially any thing from "Google" to see what they get acess to when you use their software and site. Then see if you still think Microsoft and Apple are the evil ones!
  • -1 Hide
    cats_Paw , October 11, 2011 9:03 AM
    Is it just me, or chrome has "always" good ideas?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 11, 2011 11:14 AM
    Why all this useless talk about killer this, killer that, fanboy this, troll that, better than or worse than, good for newbies, not interesting for experts, Linux vs. Windows vs. Mac vs. Android vs. iOS vs. Blackberry vs. whatever, etc. I use whatever "works" for me that I can afford. You like something, great, use it and be happy. Why bash something else? This is a never-ending issue. And yeah, first experience with a computer: playing coordinates-based Star Trek on an amber-screen 12" monitor linked to a mainframe in 1975. I got a few baddies, I think! And I love them all, old reliables, new technologies, new ideas, new takes on old ideas, etc. Compare the computing power needed to deploy Apollo 11 and then marvel at the progress we have made. And just to keep things in perspective, think about the millions without all the stuff we take for granted. Does anyone really think we can influence/control any of the software behemoths? Enjoy what they produce and share your knowledge with others.
  • -3 Hide
    richgoose , October 11, 2011 1:21 PM
    maddadChrome OS won't be killing Windows. Android is the fastest growing mobile OS because it is free. (well free except for all the patent payments to Microsoft that all the handset makers pay.) Read the "Terms of Service" for all the Android apps; especially any thing from "Google" to see what they get acess to when you use their software and site. Then see if you still think Microsoft and Apple are the evil ones!


    I'm of the notion that if you are connected to a network, consider your privacy already gone... Apple, Microsoft, Google, and just about every other big company get away with as much invasion as they can. My point was that a free or less expensive OS from google is going to grab a substantial market share versus windows. Unless the millions of current android / chrome users stumble upon your warning and start reading the ToS... and root all their droid phones to install win8 lol. and go back to firefox.

    happyedit I pulled 3 things from your post

    1) you are old

    2) you like to ramble off topic

    3) despite your accusation, not one comment here seemed to be trying to influence or control any software company... above I saw interested users debating the pros of the expanding functionality of chrome vs the (legitimate) gripes about google's privacy-invasive software.

  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , October 11, 2011 6:05 PM
    burnley14Yes! Thank you! This will make fixing my parents' computers so much easier, now I don't have to try to talk them through it like 2-year-olds, I can just do it myself.

    Its probably better to teach them how to use their computer than to just do it for them. Or you can just do what I did and tell them to buy a Mac. Then when they ask me for help I just tell them that I have no idea how it works. Seriously, Macs are bloody confusing.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 11, 2011 6:11 PM
    Am I the only person thinking that I'll log into my home machine and play games on it while I'm at work?
  • 0 Hide
    youssef 2010 , October 12, 2011 1:33 AM
    burnley14Yes! Thank you! This will make fixing my parents' computers so much easier, now I don't have to try to talk them through it like 2-year-olds, I can just do it myself.


    Join the club
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