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Extension To Chrome Brings Remote Desktop Abilities

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the new-meaning-for-parental-support dept.

Chrome 189

CNET reports that as of yesterday, a new Chrome extension will "let a person on one computer remotely control another across the network." The new remote-desktop capability is in BETA (Google's all-caps version, for emphasis), but is said to work to control any OS from any other OS, so long as both sides are equipped with Chrome and the new extension. Related: Wired is running a profile of Rajen Sheth — "father of Gmail," and now in charge of Google's Chromebook project as well.

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189 comments

Yeah (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650776)

Sounds exactly like something I want my web browser to be able to do. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650820)

Don't read this... it is a curse...

In 1999, a little boy named James was sitting in his living room and watching television with his mother and father. Suddenly, the phone rang. His dad immediately answered it. To James' surprise, his dad screamed, "We don't want any pizza!" and slammed the phone down. However, a small hand reached out from inside the phone and pulled his dad right into it!

This strange occurrence terrified James (who was now shaking with fear). Then, the phone began ringing again. James, still frightened, told his mom not to answer the phone. However, she did anyway. Then James, sensing danger, ran into his parents' bedroom. From inside it, he could hear his mom scream, "We don't want any pizza!"James knew that she too had been pulled into the phone.

Feeling terribly frightened and feeling that something bad was going to happen, James did what anyone would do: strip bootyass naked and lay face-first on the floor. James then heard something break through his front door. It wasn't long before the entities made their way into his parents' bedroom and were running around James in circles at the speed of light. There were exactly two of them, and James instinctively knew that they were The Tiki Dolls. They were two wooden dolls that looked as if they were made by Indians. They had a sinister appearance.

Soon after they started running around James' body in circles, they began periodically laying their heads on James' bootyasscheek johnson ultimatum supremacies and letting loose a high-pitched screeching sound! This inflicted extreme amounts of tickle upon James' bootyass. However, since James could not move a single cheek, all he could do was try to endure the most terrible experience possible. After they screeched on his cheeks a few times, the entities were sucked into James' bootyass as if his bootyass was a gigantic spaghetti noodle. Inside his bootyass, they let loose screech after screech and inflicted more tickle upon James' bootyass than they ever had before!

Now that you have read this (even a single word of it), The Tiki Dolls will let loose high-pitched screeching sounds inside of your bootyass and inflict major amounts of tickle upon it! To prevent this from happening, copy and paste this entire comment and then repost it as a comment three times.

Re:Yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650974)

Thank god. I thought those fish tacos were to blame.

Re:Yeah (4, Interesting)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651324)

It actually sounds brilliant. Normally I have to direct clients, friends, family to a remote-support site, direct them to download the generated .exe, and run it to allow me in (actually, I usually end up permenantly installing said agent). Think LogMeIn Rescue, or TeamViewer (we actually use Bomgar).

If this works as advertised, it could make things a whole lot easier. Combined with the fact that Chrome can be deployed as an MSI, and extensions can be pushed and locked with GPOs, this could make support much easier.

Testing it now, but sounds great.

Matter of Perspective (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651402)

It actually sounds brilliant. Normally I have to direct victims to an attack site, persuade them to download the payload, and run it to allow me in (actually, I prefer to covertly install such agent). Think drive by download, social engineering attack.

If this works as advertised, it could make things a whole lot easier. Combined with the fact that Chrome can be deployed as an MSI, and extensions can be pushed and locked with GPOs, this could make identity theft much easier.

While I can see the appeal for tech support, any security hole in the browser could be creatively exploited, possibly even activating this capability as a brand new attack vector. It seems like a good idea, but remember that a malware writer might say something different......

Re:Matter of Perspective (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651436)

If malware is running on your system, they already can do whatever they want, including download arbitrary code and run it. This doesnt really bring them any new capabilities.

Seems if you really wanted to control someones computer using malware, you would just do a reverse VNC connection-- doesnt require a mediation server in the middle run by Google.

Re:Matter of Perspective (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651458)

I'm implying using the remote desktop capability to install the malware in the first place. Seems risky building something like that into a program designed to browse, and run code from, the internet.

Nice. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650780)

This couldn't possibly go wrong.

Re:Nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651124)

Wow, someone wasted a mod point to mod parent down?

Hat trick (0, Redundant)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650784)

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Hat trick (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651064)

What could possibly go wrong?

Which part of a computer cannot go wrong?

If the number one consideration was always "what could possibly go wrong?" we'd still be shitting in the bushes and wiping our butts with leaves.

If god didn't want us to take chances, he wouldn't have given us fingers to cross.

Re:Hat trick (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651424)

It seems obvious that horrible things probably will happen because of this, its only a matter of when.

Re:Hat trick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651452)

What could possibly go wrong?

Which part of a computer cannot go wrong?

If the number one consideration was always "what could possibly go wrong?" we'd still be shitting in the bushes and wiping our butts with leaves.

Evidently you've never lost your balance and got a prickly bush leaf stuck up your arse.

Re:Hat trick (1, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651562)

Evidently you've never lost your balance and got a prickly bush leaf stuck up your arse.

Not since I met my wife.

Re:Hat trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651546)

"what could possibly go wrong?" we'd still be shitting in the bushes and wiping our butts with leaves

Two words: Poison. Ivy.

Re:Hat trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651750)

we'd still be shitting in the bushes and wiping our butts with leaves.

"Evergreen," eh? Says who?

Re:Hat trick (2)

Scratch-O-Matic (245992) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651764)

Wiping your butt with leaves? What could possibly go wrong?

Login Screen (2)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650792)

This isn't going to be very useful if it requires a user to be already logged in to work.

If it lets the user login over the remote desktop connection, Chrome is going to need to be running as an Administrator.

Re:Login Screen (4, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650852)

This isn't going to be very useful if it requires a user to be already logged in to work.

It has just that limitation:

The technology right now is limited so that permission must be granted each time remote administration is activated. "This version enables users to share with or get access to another computer by providing a one-time authentication code. Access is given only to the specific person the user identifies for one time only, and the sharing session is fully secured,"

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20117619-264/chrome-extension-enables-remote-computer-control/#ixzz1aEa5rPhB [cnet.com]

Re:Login Screen (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650910)

This isn't going to be very useful if it requires a user to be already logged in to work.

It sounds like it could be an alternative to WebEx, for those who use it for remote support.

Re:Login Screen (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651204)

This isn't going to be very useful if it requires a user to be already logged in to work.

It sounds like it could be an alternative to WebEx, for those who use it for remote support.

It beats the hell out of trying to get most adults to follow simple verbal instructions.

Ever work a technical support job? After explaining to an otherwise educated person (i.e. educated stupid) for the fifth time that when you ask him to "right-click with the right mouse button" it is not the same as "double-click (with the left)" you start thinking about remote desktop yourself.

Thankfully that was a long time ago. After a while, you stop thinking of involuntary sterilization as a viable option.

Re:Login Screen (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651736)

After explaining to an otherwise educated person (i.e. educated stupid) for the fifth time that when you ask him to "right-click with the right mouse button" it is not the same as "double-click (with the left)" you start thinking about remote desktop yourself.

Three cheers for the CLI !! You IM the luser commands to run and have them paste in the results.

Re:Login Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651018)

If it lets the user login over the remote desktop connection, Chrome is going to need to be running as an Administrator.

Because IPC is impossible, right? Chrome engineers would never do anything crazy like host extensions inside multiple isolated & least-privilege processes.

Re:Login Screen (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651352)

No, because access to the login screen requires admin (or possibly SYSTEM) rights, at least in Windows (and I would rather assume any sane OS).

Re:Login Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651408)

Yeah, and text editors must run as admin to write to system directories. They can't fork themselves or spawn a sub process which runs with admin rights. Nope, that would be too complex.

Re:Login Screen (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651426)

How do you propose an unprivileged process give itself privileges to do so? Does it just say "please" and the OS security subsystem just goes "OK"?

Last I checked, all major OSes out there require some kind of an interactive elevation (UAC, gksudo/sudo, whatever you call the thing OSX does) in order for that to happen.

Re:Login Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651508)

ShellExecute + UAC. Interactivity requirement is irrelevant as answered by somebody else; this Chrome extension doesn't replace Remote Desktop, it replaces Remote Assistance. If non-interactivity is needed, they'd probably resort to Windows Services.

Re:Login Screen (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651722)

Remote assistance runs as the logged in user, last I checked, and has no access to the login screen.

UAC doesnt just grant the user admin rights. They need to have an admin account, or know the password to one.

I think we are arguing different things, honestly, I am aware remote desktop control is possible without admin (VNC, LogMeIn, etc etc etc).

Re:Login Screen (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651050)

This isn't going to be very useful if it requires a user to be already logged in to work.

I presume you mean "this isn't going to be very useful to me".

I have supported loads of people who just need assistance doing something on their computer. Almost everyone bar you has helped family and friends with various computer tasks.

Sure you can do this with some existing technologies, but they tend to be either complex to set up or limited to a specific platform.

I'm sure that, if they can keep it secure, a free, easy to install, multi-platform remote desktop solution will be attractive to many on /.

Re:Login Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651090)

I'm sure that, if they can keep it secure, a free, easy to install, multi-platform remote desktop solution will be attractive to many on /.

    Yes, because none of those [teamviewer.com] exist yet.

Re:Login Screen (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651358)

They can be a PITA to walk people through getting to. A lot of the requests I do, 1/3 of the time is spent getting the remote person to get to the right site and click the right thing.

Re:Login Screen (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651762)

what I find to work is a combination of join.me and teamviewer. https://join.me/ [join.me] is dead simple to get people to do "click the orange circle on the left...yes it to death until it gives you a nine digit number...what's the number...say 'yes' to let me remote control..." and then use that for userland stuff. One thing that join.me doesn't deal with well is UAC prompts - namely that it doesn't allow users to click on them, since it's sandboxed similar to the browser. If you're only going to hit one that isn't password protected, have the other side do it. Else, use the remote access credentials to set yourself up with teamviewer, then they don't have to read you credentials.

Re:Login Screen (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651332)

This isn't going to be very useful if it requires a user to be already logged in to work.

Why not? It sounds like its directed at aiding with remote tech help requests-- think "family and friends are having issues", and this lets you log in and help them.

What the heck (-1, Redundant)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650794)

I'll continue the trend and risk the "Redundant" mods. What could possibly go wrong?

In other words (4, Insightful)

denshao2 (1515775) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650806)

A new security vulnerability has been introduced that will be marketed as a useful feature that rarely gets used for its intended purpose.

Why get excited over stuff we could do years ago? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651030)

Something else that I just don't get with "technology" like this is how it's mistakenly seen as "innovative" because it somehow involves a web browser, although it's something we have been able to do for decades using other software.

This is basically the same as telnet, or rsh, or ssh, or VNC, or the many other technologies that do the same thing. Fuck, this is something we could even do in the browser years ago! I remember using a Java applet that let me connect in to computers at work using ssh or VNC. That was at least 10 years ago.

Re:Why get excited over stuff we could do years ag (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651316)

Because the people (read: clueless lusers) we were trying to help years ago had no SSH or VNC server installed, nor NATed ports on their routers to make it work.

Now all (s)he needs is to have the browser installed, which (s)he might very well have already. It's very, very different, albeit not in a technical way.

Re:Why get excited over stuff we could do years ag (1)

jdogalt (961241) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651342)

+1. The C.S.-101 catchphrase would be 'what is old is new again'. In a related vein, the computer developer in me was hit by Steve Jobs death, regardless of the fact that much of his modern fame involved not the main innovations, but rather polishing and driving them to market with a coherent vision (and the power that a deep bank account provides didn't hurt his odds either). I.e. the ipod was a brand of mp3 player, not a music playing device invention. Likewise this latest google gadget is a brand of console over network sharing solution, not the real enabling innovation itself. Though with google's drive, polish, and deep pockets, it may be the brand people remember for this solution space 20 years from now. Until some new innovator sees that they can glue bash+ssh+vnc together into whatever other thing to provide the same functionality, and if on a new enough platform, convince people that it is more innovation, than just 'what is old is new again'.

Re:In other words (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651048)

the whole idea of which was called VNC and was originally designed by At&t!

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651096)

If you think VNC was the first remote graphical terminal/desktop sharing then you're off by just a few decades.

Re:In other words (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651186)

well the point was Google is once again doing something that was tried before in the past. sorry i was wrong about who gets credit for the idea... it just was VNC was my first remote graphical terminal/desktop sharing app. and it was called a virus by av scanners.

Re:In other words (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651170)

In other news a computer companies continue to provide users with a button to turn their computers on despite the obvious security risks introduced when the machine is running.

Everything is a security vulnerability. An OS is a vulnerability. Having a computer connected to the internet is a vulnerability. A web browser is a vulnerability. Even your post and the fact it was modded insightful is a vulnerability to the sanity and common sense of people reading it.

Re:In other words (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651362)

If your concern is that the remote access software might be able to be used without a valid auth code, why wouldnt that apply to solutions like TeamViewer? Or RDP? Or VNC?

Or is your concern that its "within a browser", and thus inherently must be insecure?

Re:In other words (1)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651616)

Or is your concern that its "within a browser", and thus inherently must be insecure?

In a nutshell, yes. One great way to take relatively small security concerns and greatly magnify them is to have a single application that tries to be everything and do everything for everyone. The browser is involved in too many different things as it is. As it becomes more and more central, it is also a more and more tempting target. A worst-case compromise now has fewer barriers in terms of the damage it can do.

If you are (implicitly, of course) saying that adding remote access to an already complex Web browser has absolutely no security implications whatsoever and no amount of caution could possibly be reasonable, well, I say that statement carries with it a burden of proof. Until you demonstrate otherwise, that positive claim is rightly considered false.

Those who disagree with you by default are merely being sensible.

Re:In other words (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651766)

Except that to all appearances this requires the user to go to a specific web site (or somehow generate a control code) and explicitly allow the connection. It's still not without some security concerns I suppose, but it would require a fair amount of fooling both Google and the user to abuse it. Mostly I can see it as being a great way to help friends/relatives with their computers. As a double plus good you can help your mom with her Mac from your Windows box, or your dad with his Windows box from your Linux box. As I use all three OSes at different times, and help people who use all three OSes, this has some serious pluses for me.

Like anything else there are security implications here, but there are security implications to any sort of remote control applications out there. This is no worse than most, and has significant apparent advantages in simplicity for the supported users. One of the biggest hurdles in remote support for non-corporate environments is getting the user to enable the right services in a secure way to allow the support person control, but not anyone else. This seems to go a way towards that goal without requiring a lot of technical skill from the user. Time will tell if it's actually as secure as it seems of course (this isn't exactly a white paper), but on the surface I don't see huge issues.

Re:In other words (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651524)

This is what I was thinking. If MS did this we would all be screaming about bloat and the security implications. Sure there may be millions of layers of security, but security has a way of being circumvented.

We are moving into another scary world with very little forethought. We are putting all our data online with free services without thinking deeply about securing that data. This is like when we hooked our computers to the internet without knowing that we were exposing ourselves to every two bit script kiddie. These services have little incentive to do anything beyond token security protocols. There are probably business that are betting everything on the free Google stuff without thinking that every privileged piece of communication is potentially on less that ideal servers for any competitor to hack and steal. Know, without knowing it, everyone who uses chrome is going to expose all their private data to everyone.

Re:In other words (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651682)

It's an extension. If you don't like it, or need it, don' t install it.

Re:In other words (1)

flounder42 (2480288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651586)

Google is just catching up to Microsoft. Windows has had this capability for many years, of other people remotely accessing it. In fact, Microsoft has even had to apply major resources to reducing access to this feature, due to overwhelming demand.

Re:In other words (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651630)

Google is just catching up to Microsoft. Windows has had this capability for many years, of other people remotely accessing it. In fact, Microsoft has even had to apply major resources to reducing access to this feature, due to overwhelming demand.

Does Microsoft's solution work even over the Internet, when both machines are behind firewalls? How about when the machines are running different operating systems (i.e. not Windows)?

Totally safe (4, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650810)

Yeah, giving your browser the ability to completely control your machine. Brilliant idea. No possible exploits there!

Re:Totally safe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650920)

Agreed. I'll go one further - it is fscking stupid to allow a browser (which should be sandboxed and unable to access anything outside of its window frame) remotely control your machine. Dumb Dumb Dumb. Google used to understand this. Apparently they went insane recently?

Re:Totally safe (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650954)

They realize that consumers don't give a shit about security until you first give them enough convenience to hang themselves with; after that though they complain a lot but you already have all their money and their business by then so it doesn't matter.

Re:Totally safe (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651330)

The process which will 'control the machine' will most probably have almost nothing to do with the processes which control the windows. That's how the whole browser is built: lots of independent processes limited on what they can do and able only to talk to each other over well defined interfaces.

Re:Totally safe (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651000)

There are several other web services that do just this via IE. Very popular with customers since you don't need to ask a network admin to open ports/etc.

Re:Totally safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651046)

There are several other web services that do just this via IE. Very popular with customers since you don't need to ask a network admin to open ports/etc.

because IE is the pinnacle of web browser security...

ROTFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651086)

Yeah, which is exactly why it's stupid

Popular & easy are not equivalent to secure.

Re:ROTFL (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651664)

Ever have a customer that purchased your $30k services, you spend 2 weeks discussing how everything works and everything you'll need with them, you sign all the contracts/etc, then when you're ready to go you contact their tech admin to get Remote Desktop to set things up, and they strait out refuse to give you access.

Now, the customer also says that the only reason they are willing to get our services is because we told them we can have it running in under 1 week. From a legal standpoint, we would be fine, but from the customer's standpoint, we couldn't get the job done. No matter how much your try to tell them it's their admin's fault, the customer will still point fingers at you. Word of mouth is HUGE for us getting new customers.

Remote desktop via web browser.. I hate it, but sometimes it's the only way. This is quite common at my job.

Re:Totally safe (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651202)

Yes another mindlessly idiotic post.

We should eliminate all possible sources of exploits regardless if they are attached to useful things. I have the perfect computer:

- Runs Linux with all the latest security kernel enhancements.
- No browser installed to prevent users from accidentally finding something malicious on the net.
- Not network connected to prevent attacks from outside.
- No monitor to prevent people looking over your shoulder stealing your sensitive data.
- No Powersupply to make sure it can't be turned on, after all a computer that's not running is secure right?

Yes it is a brilliant idea, for many reasons. Yes there's a possible security exploit. Yes it's quite probably a risk worth taking.

Re:Totally safe (2)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651288)

Going by that line of thinking, a browser is a giant exploit. No browsers, fewer exploits.

Re:Totally safe (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651388)

Well, considering that it was originally invented for ChromeOS I think the concept was that the browser already was the machine...

Mod me redundant, but... (-1, Redundant)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650816)

Mod me redundant, but my first thought upon seeing the headline was, "what could possibly go wrong?"

Re:Mod me redundant, but... (1)

anton.karl (1843146) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650842)

My first thoughts were equally redundant.

Already been done. (2)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650834)

Microsoft already does this. https://devices.live.com/ [live.com]

Re:Already been done. (2)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650946)

That link just took me to a sign-in page.

You talking about this? [wikipedia.org] I didn't see anything there about being operating system agnostic.

Re:Already been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650964)

That is the one. It is agnostic to all serious desktop operating systems.

Re:Already been done. (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650992)

That is indeed it. The target machine needs to run vista and later or intel OSX, but doesn't require a browser running constantly.

Re:Already been done. (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650986)

Nice try. You have to have some kind of MS account to view that page. Somewhere, I feel pretty sure that this would only support the very limited MS product line, and I could not control my home Linux system from my work Linux system (not that I need to anyway ... courtesy of ssh).

Re:Already been done. (3, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651054)

Of course they do. Microsoft has been letting people control other people's machines through their browser for years.

technical demo vs. useful tool (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650878)

This can only be a useful alternative to existing tools like TeamViewer if and only if the Chrome browser itself becomes a truly ubiquitous browser, found on EVERY machine. Otherwise, what's the difference if one still has to install software on both systems to make it feasible? In this instance, it's actually two installations, given the need to install the extension as well as the browser itself.

Re:technical demo vs. useful tool (5, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650980)

"Otherwise, what's the difference if one still has to install software on both systems to make it feasible?"

Well, given that TeamViewer starts at $700 for commercial use, I would say there is rather a large difference.

Re:technical demo vs. useful tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651278)

err ok so it's Remote Assistance but browser based. yippee
free log me in dot com account anyone?

Re:technical demo vs. useful tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651020)

TeamViewer is expensive for commercial use. If google can overcome the lack of administrative authentication, and ensure security, this could be reduce the cost of ownership for small businesses.

Re:technical demo vs. useful tool (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651386)

This can only be a useful alternative to existing tools like TeamViewer if and only if the Chrome browser itself becomes a truly ubiquitous browser, found on EVERY machine

....Or if you support friends and family, and can standardize them on Chrome. Or if you are a network admin, and roll out Chrome MSI with GPO policies that preinstall this.

Next Up (1)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650892)

Google creates a downloadable native client to view websites, the trend of ass-backwardness continues.

Does this use a central server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650906)

The main problem with VNC, RDP, etc are that they require a hole in any firewalls to get to the machine you want to control.

Things like GotoMeeting don't have that problem and are therefore much more useful. Especially if you're trying to help a random family member or other person where you can't access their network.

So, can this Chrome thing connect two computers that are both behind firewalls?

Re:Does this use a central server? (2)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650944)

I think you might be confused about what a firewall actually does. Without reviewing the product at all I'm just gonna go ahead and say "no." Not unless you punch a hole in the firewall at least. Making it so that hole can be on port 80 is something VNC can do as well that does *not* actually make it more secure.

Re:Does this use a central server? (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651012)

its probably a system similar to team viewer et al but probably peer to peer in which case would probably work over https.

Re:Does this use a central server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651188)

I think you might be confused about what a firewall actually does. If an external server is mediating the connection you just use hole punching: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UDP_hole_punching [wikipedia.org]

Re:Does this use a central server? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651310)

Holes punched == vulnerabilities. Doesn't matter how you punch them. Certainly you're not suggesting this is more secure because it relies on letting a 3rd party entity control the traffic between your operator and your server?

Re:Does this use a central server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651286)

Do you even know how GotoMeeting and similar work?

A central server allows two people to connect to via outbound connections and then they can share desktops. Assuming the firewalls allow outbound connections to the server then all is good. This is a workable solution for 99% of people.

Re:Does this use a central server? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651308)

Splitting hairs here a bit... but an outbound hole in the firewall is still a hole in the firewall.

Re:Does this use a central server? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651394)

I think you might be confused about what a firewall actually does. Without reviewing the product at all I'm just gonna go ahead and say "no.

Actually, most decent remote support products these days (that is, all of them) get around that by doing outbound connections to a central "mediator" service, usually on port 80.

Firewalls are almost never an issue for remote connection software of this sort, unless they are doing DPI and specifically trying to block traffic of this sort.

Wait wait wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651008)

Is this a fully JS extension, or is it a JS extension that ALSO comes with a plugin that allows the external OS control?
There is the ability to do the latter very easily with Chrome Extensions so you can do some more advanced stuff. (last I checked anyway)

This sounds stupidly unsafe if it is the former though, allowing any sort of control like that is a dangerous thing to do.

Re:Wait wait wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651244)

The extension installs a binary NPAPI plugin that basically runs like a separate application. Looking at it, I see no reason at all this should have been built as a Chrome extension. It seems like it was just bundled up this way as an afterthought. Maybe the rationale was to make it appear to come from the web, or so it would work on Chrome OS.

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651398)

Is this a fully JS extension,

If it is, its 19MB of javascript.

In a browser (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651068)

Does not sound like bloat one bit.

Re:In a browser (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651264)

It's an extension. That's only self-inflicted bloat, which is completely acceptable (to me anyway).

Re:In a browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651266)

It's an optional, user-installed extension, so no, it's not bloat.

Re:In a browser (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651276)

It's an extension.

Re:In a browser (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651344)

It's an extension.

Very Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651074)

Most awesome! I will be able to use this to support the wife and kids, as well as a lot of my friends and customers. I pretty much don't know anyone not using chrome anymore so a simple install of the extension and life will be made much easier!

Already trying it from one of my servers at work to my laptop and home and vice-versa, works wonderfully!

Another remote access (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651106)

Because 20 years of getting raped over the internet is just not enough.

Android too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651250)

Could be useful to have an Android version.

emacs (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651298)

But can emacs do this? I mean "yet", of course.

Chrome is now hostile code (1, Flamebait)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651338)

This makes Google's browser hostile code. It should not be allowed through corporate firewalls. On the browser front, progress has been made by giving parts of the browser that run external code less privilege. Sandboxing Flash and Acrobat Reader is progress. Mozilla's dividing of add-ons into a non privileged content script and a somewhat more privileged add-on code is progress. Putting an equivalent of Back Orifice [bo2k.com] into a browser is not.

The announcement says: the technology right now is limited so that permission must be granted each time remote administration is activated. How long will that last? Could be changed silently by a forced update? What if law enforcement wants to use it? Does the remote session run through a Google server? (The protocol is apparently based on Google Talk, which does.) How else do they get two clients behind DHCP routers talking to each other? Is the connection encrypted? Is it encrypted end to end, or is the server in a position to mount a man in the middle attack? Does Google commit contractually to not accessing your machine, or is there an EULA that says they can do that whenever they want to?

If you want remote desktop access in the corporate environment, there are management tools for that. They're usually locked down tightly, since they're inherently a security risk.

Re:Chrome is now hostile code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651542)

If you want remote desktop access in the corporate environment, there are management tools for that. They're usually locked down tightly, since they're inherently a security risk.

I was going to say... there are user domains (e.g., the DoD) where just the existence of this feature will be enough to get Chrome banned from the network. The now-BRACed military site I used to work at had pretty much banned all Google products (no Google toolbar, no Google Earth, limited GMail) between features such as Google Desktop sending information to Google servers and GMail having embedded IM (no unauthorized IM allowed).

Re:Chrome is now hostile code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651558)

chill out man, i'm sure this is more intended for helping grandma.

Chrome reinvents VNC as an extension (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651560)

News at eleven.

20 meg extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651642)

At 20 megs it's a big VNC extension.

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