It was mentioned some time ago that Chrome OS would support remote access via a browser. Days ago, Google made good on its promise, though it extends beyond the company’s stab at an operating system — all you need is a PC with the Chrome browser and a single extension installed.
Chrome Remote Desktop comes straight from Google and, like most of the company’s projects, has begun its public existence as a beta. Weighing in at 19.1MB, it’s certainly not the lightest of extensions, but once downloaded it takes seconds to install.
Now, using Google services to facilitate remote connections isn’t new. Software such as GBridge and iTeleport use Gmail to auto-discover PCs they can access and cut away some of the pain of configuring a VNC server. But Chrome Remote Desktop doesn’t appear to require Gmail access at all — it simply requests some basic permissions and, once you confirm you want to set up a connection, will spit out a 12-digit access code that can be used by any other Chrome-equipped PC sporting the extension to establish a connection.
Early reports indicate that while the process is incredibly smooth for a first release, it still needs some fine-tuning in the responsiveness department. On my local network, I had no problems getting connected wirelessly over 802.11n or through Gigabit Ethernet, but these are definitely ideal conditions. A good test will be on-the-road over 3G, which I’ll be trying as soon as I get the opportunity.
In the meantime, give the extension a go. It looks like it could prove an excellent substitute for UltraVNC or TightVNC, especially if you don’t need the additional features provide by these dedicated options.