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.google.com/remotedesktop.”

“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!