Google ties iPhones, iPads to Chrome with Remote Desktop

Gregg Keizer
16 January, 2015
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Remote desktop, ios, macworld australiaGoogle earlier this week launched its Remote Desktop app for iOS, fulfilling a promise made nine months ago.

The free app, available on Apple’s App Store, lets users remotely operate a personal computer running the Chrome browser or a Chromebook powered by Google’s Chrome OS, from an iPhone or iPad.

Users do not need to have Chrome installed on their iOS devices to run Remote Desktop.

In April 2014, when Google released an Android version of Chrome Remote Desktop, it said it would issue one for iOS later in the year. Google missed that self-imposed deadline by a few days.

The remote control app for personal computers – Windows, Mac and Chromebook – has been available since 2011, while a beta version for Linux was introduced in July 2014.
The debut of the iOS app completes the roll out of Chrome Remote Desktop for the most-used desktop and mobile operating systems.

Google’s strategy for Remote Desktop is in the same vein as its Chrome and Chrome OS game plans: By tying the remote control app to its browser – which in turn is the foundation for Chrome OS – the company promotes that browser and keeps users running it.

Google has made no secret of its push to subvert devices running rivals’ operating systems and turn them into pseudo Chromebooks by shifting features from Chrome OS to Chrome the browser, and with Remote Desktop on mobile, to reinforce that lock-in to Chrome. Analysts have viewed the strategy as part and parcel of Google’s desire to insert itself and its core services – search, mapping, email and others – onto as many systems as possible, personal computers and mobile devices both, to optimise traffic and associated ad revenue.

One way to gauge the success of that strategy is to look at Chrome’s user share, which on the desktop grew 38 percent – equivalent to 6.4 percentage points – in the last 12 months, according to the tallies kept by metrics vendor Net Applications. On mobile, Chrome accounted for nearly a quarter of all browsers used in December.

Remote Desktop for iOS is free to download from the App Store.

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