Chrome OS to support "legacy PC apps" via remote access

By on June 14, 2010, 11:07 AM
Google's upcoming operating system is designed around the cloud, powered by web-based applications running on the browser rather than traditional software installed locally on your computer. While this is an interesting and forward-thinking approach to computing, it's also very restrictive and could very well prevent Chrome OS' from gaining any real traction. According to a message posted in the Chromium discussion group, however, a workaround might be in the works.

It's still unclear exactly how it will work, but basically it appears as if Google is developing a feature which would allow you to control "legacy PC applications" running on other computers from within the browser itself. The technique is being unofficially called "chromoting" -- a mix of the words "Chrome" and "Remoting". Google engineer Gary Kačmarčk confirmed the remote access bit although he wouldn't share any firm details until "the coming months."

So far two possibilities for how 'chromoting' might work have been suggested on numerous sites. The most likely scenario is that it offers a web-based remote desktop client, allowing users to log in to their home PC and access applications there. Alternatively, Google could offer a more elaborate service, letting users run software directly on its servers for a fee.

Obviously, such remote access tools are nothing new -- Citrix and others have been offering similar functionality for years. But it's still interesting to see Google building this into Chrome OS and we're curious to know just how easy to use and well-integrated with the browser it will be.

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