Skip to main content

Google Releases Chrome Desktop-Sharing Feature

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.

  • Parsian
    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.

    Reply
  • jaysbob
    this would be an awesome way to really screw with someone.
    Reply
  • dreamer77dd
    Has anybody tried it? And did they like it?
    Reply
  • mister g
    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).
    Reply
  • drwho1
    jaysbobthis would be an awesome way to really screw with someone.
    Which is why I don't really care about this type of "feature".
    Reply
  • mouse24
    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
    Reply
  • burnley14
    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.
    Reply
  • ithurtswhenipee
    Imouse24this 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.
    Reply
  • drwho1
    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.

    Reply
  • sgtopmobile
    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
    Reply