Google Chrome Remote Desktop Updated with Immersive Mode

Google Chrome is, as you hopefully know, a very popular browser for desktops, laptops, and Chromebooks alike, as well as for Android devices.  And you may also know that Google released an app for Android, Chrome Remote Desktop, that allowed you to access your computer from your Android phone or tablet, and control it from there, no direct interface required.

Well, today, Google released an update to Chrome Remote Desktop, v36, and it adds something that many of the users of this useful app have been asking for since its release: immersive mode.  Yes, if you have Kit Kat, Android version 4.4 or higher on your device, you can now use the whole screen of your device to control your computer.  Once connected, all you need to do is tap the little icon with four arrows pointing out to each corner, and it expands, hiding the status bar, navigation bar (if your device has one), in both portrait and landscape mode, to be able to bring them back with the typical 'swipe down from the tope' along with a little white down arrow in the top right corner, that does the same, but no swiping required.

This update makes it so much more intuitive to use your smartphone or tablet to help a friend on their computer, give a presentation from across the room, show off to friends, or mess with roommates that think it's okay to use your computer.  It also functions as a tool for parents that want to monitor their online browsing from out of the room or out of the house.  Point being, the Chrome Remote Desktop app's latest update, beginning the roll-out to users today, is makes it even more pleasant to use, regardless of why you want to.

To set this genius tool up from scratch on your computer, open Google Chrome, type 'chrome://apps' into the URL bar, hit enter, click 'Web Store' in the bottom right corner, search the store for 'Chrome Remote Desktop', and you should find the first app, which should be from (just to make sure it's the real deal), then click the + Free blue button.  Add it, it should auto open the apps drawer, showing the Remote Desktop icon (the two blue screens with black borders with a Chrome icon in the front one), click on it, click 'continue' to authorize external access to your computer.  Choose the Google account (if you have more than one logged in) you want to use, click the blue accept button.  Click get started in the 'My Computers' section.  Set up a name for your current computer, and (highly recommended) set up a PIN (6-digit minimum) to secure the connection when connecting the phone or tablet.  Move to your phone or tablet, which has the Chrome Remote Desktop application installed.  Connect to a Wi-Fi or data network, launch it, refresh (arrows in a circle in top right) list of available computers, (make sure to choose the right account from the drop-down menu in the top left) and tap the name of the computer you just set up.  Enter the PIN (if you set one up) and tap continue (or check the box to not ask for the PIN again if you don't want to have to type in the PIN anymore.  If you have Kit Kat on your device, then click the expand icon, and enjoy your remote browsing!  Be sure to download the latest APK from here and install it, so no need to wait for Google, if you're that type of adventurous.

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About the Author

Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.