Once upon a time, in a world not so far away, accessing a computer remotely required all sorts of costly, complicated software and technical know-how.

These days, it's a different story. Google's free Chrome Remote Desktop service makes it dead-simple to get on any computer — Windows, Mac, Linux or Chromebook — from any other desktop or mobile device. You can access all of the remote system's contents and even click around as if you were sitting right in front of it.

Chrome Remote Desktop can be useful for signing onto your own personal or work computer from afar, and it can be equally valuable for peeking in on someone else's system — be it your co-worker's or your mom's — to provide hands-on help without having to be in the same location.

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