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GoToMyPC Gets Ready to Go to Your Mac

By John P. Mello Jr. MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Oct 19, 2009 4:00 AM PT

More and more workers require remote access to their personal computers at their offices, and often those office computers are Macs. That trend has induced a major maker of remote access software to tailor one of its offerings for the Applesphere.

GoToMyPC Gets Ready to Go to Your Mac

Citrix Systems is close to releasing GoToMyPC for the Mac, currently in open beta trials. Although previous versions of the program allowed any computer connected to the Internet, including Macs, to remotely control PCs via the Web, the new version extends the capability to Macs.

"We've had a PC version for eight years, now," GoToMyPC Product Marketing Manager Eric Bensley told MacNewsWorld, "but we're seeing more and more, even within corporations, certain departments are asking to use the Mac operating system within the company's network. That's why we thought that this is the time to start developing for the Mac."

Performance, Reliability, Ease of Use

When designing the Mac version of GoToMyPC, Bensley continued, Citrix focused on the qualities that have made the PC version popular -- performance, reliability and ease of use.

"We talked to a lot of users who were trying to use remote access with the current solutions out in the market," he said, "and one of the things we heard over and over again was they just couldn't rely on it for their business, and they weren't comfortable going home and feeling they could get into their Macs effectively every time."

Making a Mac accessible through the Web with the application is simple. After setting up an account at GoToMyPC, you click on an "add computer" button on a Web page, and a wizard takes you through the installation process. When installation is complete, you'll be able to log into your account from any computer connected to the Internet and operate your Mac as if you were sitting at its keyboard. You can run applications, for instance, or open and edit files.

Improved Mac Experience

Since access to PCs from the GoToMyPC Web site can be performed with a browser, prior versions of the program allowed users to access their PCs from computers running Windows or OS X. However, the Mac experience wasn't as good as the PC experience, GoToMyPC Product Line Manager Michelle Knab told MacNewsWorld. The feeling of the full screen view of a host's desktop wasn't as good on the Mac, she explained, and the image of the desktop displayed on the Mac wasn't as nice.

Features continue to be added to the beta version of the Mac product, which is available to the public for free, she added. This week, for example, the company expects to roll out support for multiple monitors.

When the Mac edition of GoToMyPC is finalized, its pricing will be the same as its PC brother. It's based on a sliding scale, depending on how many host computers you want to connect to the system and the length of your commitment. For example, a one-month subscription to the service for one computer host is US$19.95, or $179.40 annually; for two computers, the monthly fee is $29.95, or $269.40 annually; and so forth.

Growing Trend

Industries that have shown an interest in the Mac version of GoToMyPC, according to Knab, include design, healthcare, law and education, as well as "just people switching their home machines from PC to Mac and they want access from the office."

The desire for remote access to a host computer is growing trend, one that Citrix, with its GoToMyPC products, is in a good position to capitalize on, according to Kishore V. Kalidindi, director of engineering for The Tolly Group Companies, a network testing firm.

"More and more companies are allowing people to [telecommute] from home or split their time between home and office," he explained. "People are also traveling a lot. Then it becomes really important from a productivity point of view to gain access to your office computer from wherever you are."

Demand for Mac support in remote access products is growing, he contended. "For any solution, it's becoming really important for them to support both the Windows and Mac platforms," he argued. "We'll definitely see an increasing number of Mac-based solutions going forward."

"This is an evolving area or technology," he added, "and probably within the next year or so you will see all the major solutions offer support for both Mac and Windows."

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