Chrome Remote Desktop on Android swaps to web app, for higher or worse


Google has up to date the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android, ditching the previous native app for a (buggy) new web-based version.

Before right now, Chrome Remote Desktop – Google’s free service that provides distant management entry to your Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop – had not acquired an replace to its Android app since early 2020. The cellular app had typically been barebones, lacking most of the options that are available when using the desktop web app.

You might swap between a direct contact mouse and a swipeable cursor, open your phone’s on-screen keyboard, resize the PC’s monitor to match your display, and ship the Ctrl-Alt-Del key combo. Importantly, the cell model of Chrome Remote Desktop also didn’t assist the tool’s “Remote Support” function, which permits for one-time entry to somebody else’s computer by way of a code on their display.

Chrome Remote Desktop (old version)

Suffice it to say the Chrome Remote Desktop mobile app had fallen far behind what the online app might do. That being the case, Google opted to leverage the work being carried out on the internet app by creating a Trusted Web Activity (TWA). In essence, a TWA is a fullscreen web-based app that can be put in by way of the Play Store, and at a look, you wouldn’t instantly be ready to tell that it’s an internet app.

Google has been beta testing this explicit update for nearly a year now, utilizing that time to work through the various bugs and points. When we initially beta tested the brand new experience, there have been some significant issues with display screen rotation and adjustments being made to the host pc.

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This week, Google rolled out the most recent web-based model of Chrome Remote Desktop (version TWA 1.2) via the Play Store without the want to enroll in beta updates. The difference is kind of stark, because the outdated first-generation Material Design 1 style has been replaced with a more moderen (but nonetheless considerably outdated) Google Material Theme UI.

As the experience is constructed on the web app, the full suite of Chrome Remote Desktop options and options is available. In the drawer on the left facet, you’ll discover options for Remote Access, Remote Support, and Set up by way of SSH, together with a darkish theme toggle and a feedback button.

Once you really get connected to your PC of selection, you’ll find the controls have also been considerably updated. For instance, while the outdated model of Chrome Remote Desktop despatched your Android contact keyboard presses directly to the computer, you now have a text box to type into, and you need to press “Send” to finalize what you typed.

This change is a bit awkward at first, but it allows Gboard’s autocomplete and autocorrect options to work as you’d anticipate. You can return to the previous fashion by toggling “On-screen input.” You also can use a built-in contact keyboard that features a few of the extra keys you’d want on a desktop. We haven’t but examined an external keyboard, but the in-stream settings menu mentions a “Send system keys” feature which ought to ship particular key presses (Alt, Ctrl, and so forth.) and shortcuts to your computer.

In that same menu, accessible by urgent the semicircle button on the side of the video stream, you’ll also find stream high quality choices (including most popular codec, max framerate, and “Smooth scaling”), display scale settings, and a way to switch information between your cellphone and pc. Most of those were previously unavailable via the mobile app, and collectively they need to make for a better expertise.

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However, even after a 12 months of testing, Chrome Remote Desktop’s web app still doesn’t appear ready for primetime. In the quick time I spent with the update, I skilled a difficulty where the contact controls cease working altogether, making it impossible to zoom, pan, or use the mouse in any means. Even disconnecting, closing the app, and reconnecting didn’t resolve the problem.

Also, as the new app is operating in Chrome, you have to be conscious of adjustments to your browser settings. For instance, should you set to open in Desktop Mode, you’ll discover that setting also, frustratingly, applies to the Chrome Remote Desktop app.

Ideally, the numerous enhancements and further options should have made this web-based version of Chrome Remote Desktop a big upgrade over the outdated native Android app. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, leaving the app a buggy mess.

Thankfully, if you run into any of those points, you’ll be able to nonetheless uninstall the app and sideload an older model.

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