Google Releases Chrome Remote Desktop App for Android

Posted on April 18, 2014 8:30 AM by Rob Williams

Google’s offered a Chrome-based remote desktop solution since late 2011, but a major missing component has been Android. No – not a solution to control a remote Android device, because that’d be rather niche. Instead, an application that would allow someone to access their PC at home from their smartphone – regardless of where they are.

Well, that missing component is now taken care of, and while remote desktop solutions are hardly that innovative, there are sure to be many who like the idea of using a solution that’s built right inside of their browser. Such functionality is not included, however. To enable it, you’ll need to head on over to the Chrome Web Store and grab the browser extension. Then, you’ll need to go to the Play Store and install the respective app.

After setting both up, which at best requires you to choose the Google account you want to use as well as proceed through a Windows security pop-up, you’ll be good to go. After enabling remote desktop access on a PC, the name of it should appear in the Android app:

Chrome Remote Desktop on Android - Discovering a PC

Once connected, you’ll see the exact same thing your home PC does. Moving your finger around the phone’s touchscreen will likewise move the cursor around; to click something, you must hold down for one second. To right-click, you must hold two fingers down.

Chrome Remote Desktop on Android - Using a PC

Overall, I’d say that my experience was quite good. Granted, I was sitting right beside the computer and router, so there’s sure to be some noticeable lag when out in the field. Even so, Google’s solution is lightweight, and it works, so it’s worth checking out.

  • xOptix78

    Oooh, nice find. The family and I are heading out for a playdate with another family across town, so I’ll test it out then.

    I’m curious to see the data usage and how the performance is at non-LTE speeds.

    • Rob Williams

      Let me know what the data usage is like.

      • xOptix78

        The Chrome Remote Desktop app has used 15.48MB after about 10 minutes of tooling around (frequent clicking and constant movement of the mouse for about 4 minutes).

        On my carrier’s HSPA+ network with 2 bars, performance was so-so. I noticed some heavy delay initially when clicking on links and switching between tabs in Chrome. It seemed to get better as I used the app, but there was still a bit of lag.

        I haven’t had a chance to test it on the LTE network (because I’m too lazy to reach over and turn off the WiFi), but as you noted, being connected on a home network results in a super-responsive experience. It’ll be good on those days when the bed is warm, but the floor is cold.

        Using a remote desktop app on my phone is just for fast and dirty periods where I need to look something up. It’s just not practical on a 5″ screen. Now if I had a tablet, it would be a different story.

        Regardless, it’s nice to see Google finally step up.

        Sorry TeamViewer. You’re on the bench.

        • Rob Williams

          Great input man! That kind of data usage doesn’t seem too bad, though I have no basis for comparison. If I need something at home it’s usually something a command-line can tackle, with no need for a GUI.

          On HSPA+, what do you benchmark at? I am lucky to get 3Mbps.

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