Remote Desktop Sharing (Free)

For years I have had the need to share information, applications, and desktops across the miles.  Just recently, I stumbled across two viable, and affordable solutions that should work for people like me who are:

  • poor (and prefer to stick with Open Source – Free- software),
  • multiplatform (Win, Mac, Linux) users and who also…
  • desire a better “hands on approach” to sharing information and coaching folks on system’s usage across the miles.

The applications I have found to be most workable for me are:

  1. Google Chrome Remote Desktop Beta
  2. Teamviewer 7

Google Chrome Remote Desktop Beta

Briefly, Chrome Remote Desktop offers the following functions, including:

  • OS independence (it runs on Win, Mac, Linux)
  • Internet browser dependant (it requires Chrome on Win,Linux, Mac; Chromium on Linux also works)
  • Browser-centric operation
  • A 2 user Desktop Sharing limitation
  • No obvious license restrictions or encumbrances
  • The Requirement of having a gmail account to install and access the application (no charges incurred or required)
  • An apparent arbitrary 15 minute time-out restriction.
  • Application accessible through the Chrome/Chromium Applications screen
To quote the folks at Google:

“Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to securely share your computer over the Web. Both users must be running the Chrome Remote Desktop app, which can be found at”

“Chrome Remote Desktop BETA is fully cross-platform, so you can connect any two computers that have a Chrome browser, including Windows, Linux, Mac and Chromebooks.”

TeamViewer 7

Briefly,TeamViewer7 offers the following functions, it:

  • Operates equally well on Win, Mac and Linux
  • Has no Internet browser requirement
  • Does not seem to time out quickly or arbitrarily
  • Is restricted to personal use only… non-commercial when used with a Free / non-paid license
  • Runs inside its own application window
  • Provides obvious security information regarding the ‘safety’ of your connection
  • Maintains a history of connections

To quote the folks at Teamveiwer:

“While most competitors offer different packages for spontaneous support,
remote maintenance, presentation, online training, team collaboration and
VPN (and also charge for them), TeamViewer combines all of these modules
in a single, extremely affordable application.”

“TeamViewer is a very secure solution for remote maintenance. Your connec-
tions utilize completely secured data channels featuring 1024-bit RSA key
exchange and 256-bit AES session encoding.”

After a couple of trial uses, here are my general observations and opinions (assuming anyone cares).

  1. Generally I prefer Teamviewer 7 both for its browser independence and link security management. Heaven knows my top-secret online meetings require 1024 RSA key exchanges and 256-bit AES (encryption).
  2. On the other hand given that Teamviewer7 is restricted to personal or non-commercial use, I also plan to continue to use Google Remote Desktop Share for those short duration 1 on 1 commercial desktop sharing sessions.

Who knows, someday there might be a single solution for me…. the impoverished genealogist, geek user. But for today, two solutions are better than none!