As I start to churn out this article, it dawned upon me that a fair few of the articles I’ve produced of late have been around Google services. The bizarre thing is, I part with much more of my cash to go into Bill Gates retirement kitty than I do contributing to Alphabet.
Perhaps these are the early signs that I’m unknowingly jumping ship across to operating only in the Google ecosystem. I dunno. Maybe. Still going to need Microsoft around for back end server-based services like Azure, SQL and 365 though, so maybe just the desktop ‘front end’ will be the change, for me, for now.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this article has to tip the hat towards Chrome Remote Desktop, which allows you to remotely access another computer just using the Google Chrome web browser. This might be really useful to access your work computer which is loaded up with all your business applications, from your home computer, laptop or dare I say it Chromebook. This way you needn’t worry about loading the applications on your home computer, it could literally have nothing else installed apart from the Chrome browser and you’re good to go (once you’ve enabled the relevant Chrome Remote Desktop plugin and set up a secure access method).
I’ve found it useful linking back to one of my previous articles about using a Chromebook or Chromium OS for work. Using Chrome Remote Desktop I can easily log into a Windows-based computer to do the few things I can’t do on the Google-backed devices. Yes, I can fire up my laptop as I mentioned in a previous article, but this method means I don’t have to move. At all. Bad for my health. Good for Google.
For people with a small setup, and just have the one main computer, this could be a really neat solution for accessing that computer when you’re out and about on the move, given you just need an Internet connection and the Chrome browser, most people would be able to easily get to grips with it.
Ah – but I bet it’s not secure! You’d be wrong. It uses something AES encryption within an HTTPS tunnel, which in plain English terms, means it is secure. The word encryption is normally a good sign (unless it’s to do with ransomware, but that’s a story for another day), and that combined with a secure web traffic tunnel, makes this secure. Just to be clear though, anything can be broken in the right hands, with the right effort. I’m just saying Google has done their bit to make this as secure as possible without hindering the user experience. You will need to have a strong secure password for both your Google account and your access password for the remote computer itself. But that’s just common sense, right?
Another plus to this method is the cost. Nothing. Nada. Gratis. You can’t really argue with that. A secure remote access tool for nowt.
You may need some help setting your remote computer not to go to sleep, as that will bring everything to a halt, likewise you may need someone at your office to turn on the remote computer if you’re saving the polar bears and turning off your computer at night. Which you should. Also good for your social life.
So my advice is to go forth, have a play if you’re in the market for such a solution and see how you get on. The chances are, if you’re after a simple remote access method, you’ll like this one.
Gavin Moorhouse is the owner and general dogsbody of Lucid Computer Solutions Ltd, an IT and Cloud services provider based in the West Midlands. You can find him hanging out at Google towers.