Google has launched a Chrome Remote Desktop for mobile, which means Android device owners can now control their desktop machines from afar.
Google's remote desktop app joins a host of free and paid-for tools offering similar capabilities on Google Play, including Microsoft's apps that give remote access to Windows PCs from an Android or iOS device.
Google's Android app works similarly to its remote desktop Chrome software that's been available since 2011, which can be used to assist remote support scenarios or give access to files and applications. The Chrome desktop app, which is available for Windows and Mac machines but not Linux, is also required to enable remote access from the Android device.
"If you haven't used Chrome Remote Desktop in the past, you can get started by enabling your Windows or Mac machine for remote access through the Chrome Web Store app. Next, simply launch the Android app on your phone or tablet, tap on the computer's name and start using your remote machine as if you were sitting right in front of it," Google said in a blog post on Wednesday.
According to support documents for the desktop Chrome client, desktop sessions are encrypted with Chrome's SSL features. Chrome was one of a small handful of Google's software that wasn't affected by the recent OpenSSL HeartBleed bug.
Since a Google Account is required to use the app, Google also recommends adding a six-digit PIN to the app in the event that someone hijacks the account. It allows a remote connection with the same Google Account, so long as they're on and connected to the internet. To handle remote connections with other account owners, users can share access via unique access codes that are generated for each session.
Google hasn't released an iOS Remote Desktop app yet, but it says one will arrive "later this year".
Microsoft launched remote desktop apps for iOS and Android last March, while a Windows Phone equivalent is expected to arrive in future. Microsoft however already has a very popular remote desktop app for its Windows RT tablet range.
Microsoft updated its iOS and Android remote desktop apps last month, including the client software for Macs.