You're out on a sales call, and use your Android mobile device to grab a file you have back at the office on your desktop machine. That's a key use case being touted by Google, which on Wednesday released its Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android mobile devices.
The tech giant unveiled its Chrome Remote Desktop in 2011, which allowed a user to remotely access a computer from another laptop or computer. This new app now permits that access from an Android mobile device, and an app for access from iOS devices is expected soon.
To set up, the user installs the Remote Desktop app on every computer where remote access is desired, and on the Android device. The app installs into the Chrome browser. When installed, the app icon of two overlapping rectangles will show up in the Apps section of the browser. The remote connection is then enabled and a PIN is chosen.
Share a Computer
The app allows a user to share a computer with someone else, who also has the app, by clicking the Share button. A unique access code is then generated for each sharing session, and the app owner gives this code to the person with whom you'd like to share the computer.
Google recommends reading the code instead of emailing or IMing it, for security reasons. The screen sharing session begins once the access code is entered, and it can be ended at anytime by the app owner. During a sharing session, the person with whom you are sharing has full control of the target computer, including access to applications, files, emails, documents and history.
The Remote Desktop mobile app is being seen as part of Google's strategy to offer capabilities across its products that apply to the needs of business users.
Roger Kay, an analyst with industry research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, pointed out to us that "Google is joining this [remote file access and screen sharing] game a little late," since such functionality is available through other avenues.
'March to Hegemony'
But, he noted, this is one more instance of Google making Windows machines available through the Android platform, representing "another step in Google's attempted march to hegemony."
In February, Google announced an arrangement with VMware so that its cloud-oriented Chromebooks could have access to Windows applications and data via the cloud. This capability was enabled when VMware extended its Blast HTML5 Desktop Access software to Chromebooks.
At the time of that announcement, Google Enterprise President Amit Singh said in a statement that Chromebooks "can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs," which included total cost of ownership.
Also in February, Google unveiled its Chromebox for Meetings, which provided video conferencing in a single $1,000 package. It offers Google+ Hangouts with as many as 15 simultaneous video participants in a remote meeting. The package includes an Asus Chromebox computer, an HD camera with autofocus, omni-directional speaker and microphone, and a remote control.