Control our computer remotely It is an option that we have been doing for years with specialized programs such as TeamViewer, for instance. But Google makes it much easier through a web page: Chrome Remote Desktop. It can be very useful and we will explain how it works.
The service has been available since 2017. Believe it or not, it has been in beta ever since. But since 2019 Google Remote Desktop is available without beta with a new website that will seek to replace the Chrome application. We don’t need to install anything and we can connect through a web page. We explain step by step how to access this service and what it offers us.
What is Remote Desktop on Google?
Google Remote Desktop is a Mountain View website or application that is designed to remotely control your computer through the Chrome browser. You can access the computer from your device and not only can we access it, but you can “touch” and handle your entire computer without being in front of it.
It works on Windows, on macOS and you can access it through your Google account as long as you have previously configured the corresponding extension and access it from a mobile phone or from another computer where you also have a registered account and an application. You only need a PIN and a Google account to start using it.
The first thing we must do to be able to use Chrome Remote Desktop is to configure it. You must go to the website remotedesktop.google.com/home dedicated to this function for start managing the different teams. Tap on “Remote Access” when you get to a screen similar to the one you see below. You will see that there is an option to “Configure remote access: Configure this computer to access it remotely from another device. To get started, click the download button ”.
As the website itself indicates, tap on the download icon.
This will take us to the Chrome Web Store page where we can download the Remote Desktop extension. You can touch in the upper right corner to download it and add it in your browser. Just tap on “Add to Chrome” in the upper right and wait for it to install completely. Make sure the Google session is correct.
Beyond the extension, a file will run on your computer. Or, rather, it will ask for your permission through a dialog box where you will have to tap on “Run”. This will start the installation of Chrome Desktop Host to be able to control remotely.
You will have to choose a Name easily recognizable to your computer.
The next thing we have to do is choose a PIN that we will need to connect remotely to the computer. A PIN code of at least six digits that you must remember to be able to connect from your mobile phone or from another device. Use a code that is not obvious and forget about 123456 or similar since you will run risks and your privacy will worsen.
Once you have entered the PIN, you will have already configured your computer to access remotely.
Once you have connected, you need another device from which to access. For example, your mobile. You must install the Google Remote Desktop application on the devices you want. It is available through Google Play or App Store for free.
Install the application on your mobile phone and access. You won’t have to log in if you already have your Google account linked on that device. You must bear in mind that if there are several accounts registered on your smartphone, you must go to the three lines in the upper left corner of the application to choose the one you have configured on your computer. If you do not choose the one you have previously linked, you will see a message that indicates “There is no computer to connect to” so make sure both emails are the same if you have several.
Once in your account, you will see the connected devices or computers. Tap About the one you want and it will ask for your six-digit PIN code to enter. The computer will automatically appear on your mobile screen and you can move through the different windows or use it from the phone via touch. From a smartphone it is not the most comfortable since the screen will be much smaller than that of the PC but you can have full control of your computer if you want to monitor a process that you have left when you leave home, for example.
It is important to bear in mind that it not only serves to connect us to what is in the browser but also gives us total control over the PC, regardless of the window that is open.
On the computer we will see a warning window that tells us:
Your computer is currently shared with …
And a button “Stop sharing.” Tap on it to stop sharing if you have activated it by mistake or if you have already stopped using it and do not want to continue “projecting” the screen on another device.
If you want to delete the computer because you are no longer going to use the Chrome service, it does not seem useful or it does not seem safe, you can do it. You just gotta go to the Chrome Remote Desktop page and to the “Remote Access” tab. Once here, you will see what your device is and you can find some icons on the right to edit or delete.
Tap on the recycle bin icon and a pop-up window will appear asking if we give authorization to make changes. Confirm and your device will disappear from the device list. The “Setup” screen will reappear to start from scratch.
Other options: Remote assistance
Beyond connecting from our own computers, there is another option that allows Chrome Remote Desktop and is to give someone temporary access. We can allow other users to access the computer by generating a one-time access code to share with one person. It can be useful if your equipment has broken and you need a technician from your work to take a look and see what happens or it can be practical in the case of having older people in the family who need help installing something if you cannot get around. It is comfortable in many cases and just that person can see your screen and control the computer, mouse and keyboard, for as long as allowed.
It is not useful for online classes, for example, since you not only project the screen but also have total control so it can be chaos to give access to your students.
In any case, the steps are simple and we simply have to go to Chrome’s Remote Desktop from the corresponding website and click on “Remote Assistance”. Here you must touch on the first option: Share this screen. Once you tap on “Generate a code” it will start to load until a twelve digit access code appears which expires in five minutes. You can give that set of numbers to someone to access.
If what you want to do is connect to another computer, the steps are the same and you must enter the code in the “Remote devices” section confirming with “Connect.
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