Those of us who are a bit more tech savvy than some of our friends and family often receive phone calls asking us to help them out of whatever predicament they seem to have found themselves in. Most of us consider this an imposition, but luckily most of these issues are easy to fix, so no harm no foul. Of course, even something simple like re-installing a driver or deleting a malicious program can be quite tedious if you have to explain each step to someone who suddenly finds clicking on “apply” to be a confusing and complicated procedure.
Fortunately, Google has now ported Chrome’s Remote Desktop app to Google+ Hangouts. This is now probably the easiest way to offer tech support from afar that i know of. In order to use the app simply start a Hangout, click on “View More Apps” then “Add Apps” then select “Hangouts Remote Desktop.”
One thing that sets Hangouts Remote Desktop apart from other apps is being able to keep talking to whoever you are helping while you are using their machine. The old principle of “teach a man to fish… etc” especially applies when it comes to offering routine tech support in this day and age. The majority of the time I am helping someone get their machine up and running again all I needed to do was either something very simple, or on occasion I just googled whatever the problem was and followed the instructions someone else gave me. Whoever is expecting me to fix their tech issue for free, can at the very least sit and watch how I do it, so that the next time they decide to download a program that promises them hundreds of new smiley faces that they can use in their emails, they will know how to root out the viruses that were downloaded along with those useless animations. A Google+ Hangout gives me an easy way to explain exactly what I’m doing, and a good way for me to make sure whoever I am helping is sitting there, staring at the screen.
Perhaps a better a more updated version of the old saying would be “Fix a man’s computer, and it will work for a few more weeks, teach a man to Google an error message, and his computer will work forever.”