Google is continuing to push its Chrome browser into new areas, and this week it’s started privately testing an Android client for Chrome Remote Desktop (aka “Chromoting”), making good on a promise from nearly a year ago.
You can use Chrome Remote Desktop already to connect desktop computers running a Chrome browser with the Chrome extension. The new Android app – currently in invite-only private beta – will allow you to establish connections to these computers from your Android device.
Screenshots of the app taken from the beta Play store listing, provided to Droid Life (included below), show a pretty bare-bones app whose UI is nowhere near the standard we’ve come to expect of Google’s own Android apps of recent years, but it is a beta, so we can likely expect the UI flair to come later.
Remote desktop functionality is useful for people (like me) who often need to connect to computers at home from work, or at work from home. The Android app – which will function on both phones and tablets – will allow us to connect on the go – something that previously would have required carrying a laptop around with us to access a full Chrome browser to use the extension.
With the app in private beta, it remains to be seen how Google’s engineers are tackling the complexities of interacting with a full desktop computer – usually controlled with a keyboard and mouse – via a 5-inch phone’s touchscreen.
Chrome Remote Desktop isn’t the only option for connecting to remote computers from your mobile device. Many clients exist utilising existing standards like VNC, RDP, and a number of customised solutions like Parallels Access (soon to come to Android), LogMeIn and TeamViewer. Unlike many of these services though, you can usually get it up and running without any additional services or configuration, with no payment required.
Google hinted earlier this year that it plans to bring the service to iOS as well as Android. If the company can deliver on these promises, it’ll present a compelling case to users as any computer running the extension in Chrome could be a viable target for connections from the majority of mobile devices on the planet.
Do you use a remote desktop solution at the moment? Would you be tempted to switch to Google’s solution instead? Tell us in the comments!