Google is Working to Integrate Android with Windows

Posted on January 5, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Google, Mobile, Windows 10, Windows 11 with 55 Comments

As part of a broader Android announcement, Google said today that it will integrate key Android features with Windows this year.

“For the first time with Android, we’re also focused on building for other platforms, like Windows, whether it’s in gaming, productivity or other areas,” Google vice president Erik Kay writes. “For example, by connecting your Android phone to your Windows PC with Fast Pair, you’ll be able to quickly set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages, and share files with Nearby Share. We’re working with Acer, HP, and Intel to bring these experiences to select Windows PCs first later this year.”

So that’s a lot of information, most of it pretty vague. Let’s deconstruct it.

First, remember that Google in December announced—just as vaguely—that it will bring Play Store-based Android games to Windows in 2022. That covers the “gaming” bit in the first sentence of that quote. The rest of it covers the productivity bit. Which will include at least these three features:

Fast Pair. Today, both Windows and Android offer support for Bluetooth Fast Pair (called Quick Pair on Windows) to quickly connect peripherals like mice and earphones. In the future, the two will work together so that you can connect your Android handset to your Windows PC to enable the other coming new Google features. And if I’m reading that right, pair other Bluetooth accessories with both your phone and your PC.

Text message sync. Today, you can use the web app version of Google Messages to access your Android-based text messaging on Windows (and elsewhere). I assume this is something else, however, like a native app that literally communicates with your handset.

Nearby Share. Google released this feature to Android last year (and, I think, to Chrome OS), and it lets you easily share information between two devices with Nearby Share, similar to Apple’s AirDrop. With this addition, you’ll be able to use Nearby Share between your phone and PC (presumably in both directions).

So, we’ll see how this all plays out. The only thing I do know for sure is that Google is doing this without Microsoft’s help, which is both curious and troubling.

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Comments (55)

55 responses to “Google is Working to Integrate Android with Windows”

  1. JacobTheDev

    I'd love if the "Text message sync" feature was tighter integration (RCS 🙏) with the Your Phone app

  2. Pbike908

    How many times have we heard this over the years...


    This is like Lucy with the football....

  3. darkgrayknight

    Ah, doesn't this remind you of the days of the YouTube app for Windows Phone and Xbox?

    If they would work together, then we'd have consistent and workable Your Phone already.

  4. sofan

    Not mentioning Microsoft means Google is playing Long term dirt game

  5. crunchyfrog

    "Select Windows PC's"?? I find this somewhat troubling up front. It sounds like, at least initially, some of us will not be able to use these features if we do not have specific brands or models of a Windows PC.

    Could be a pay to play bit to favor certain brands or could be to limit exposure while this is being beta tested on the public to see how it goes at first.


    Either way, count me in.

    • SvenJ

      Right now you don't have access to all the YourPhone features unless you have specific Samsungs. Maybe it is Googles goal to fragment Windows.

    • nine54

      This is what concerns me too. "Select" PCs, "select" phones--there's always a dozen asterisks.

    • aretzios

      Well, they would need address specific firmware (and the BIOS), so yes, this would have to be specific to the machines that Google and Intel would work on.

  6. markbyrn

    For messages, you can already sync on PC or Mac using the Google Messages website - quite simple.

  7. ianbetteridge

    I know this isn't going to happen, but I would love it if Apple offered some bare-bones features which integrate the iPhone with Windows machines a little better. Yes, they have iCloud for Windows (and it actually works pretty well these days), which now includes the password manager integration for Edge, but even a simple connection to Windows which let you use iMessage wihle your phone was connected via Bluetooth would be great. As is, I just end up using WhatsApp's Windows client.

    • nine54

      Not going to happen. The seamless integration between Apple devices is a key selling point. This is why you don't see iMessage when you log into iCloud.com or a native iMessage app on Windows.

      • red.radar

        Most iOS users are locked into the ecosystem through multiple bonds due to other apple purchases. Apple Watch, AirPods, Purchased Content etc..


        To keep people from looking at Android, I could see them releasing some basic web app functionality like they did with FaceTime.


        I Grant you its unlikely, however i say the situation has upgraded slightly from “when pigs fly” to maybe “fat chance”

  8. nbplopes

    I’ve been waiting for a robust yet simple to use integration between Windows and Android for a tech. Send and receive files direct (no cloud), sms direct and Cloud, and call relay … for over a decade.


    I don’t think it will ever happen.

  9. madthinus

    I bet there is Chrome integration here or Use some Google account back end. They are clearly not working with Microsoft. So this is another beachhead for people's data.

  10. codymesh

    I will bet $10 that their nearby share for windows "integration" is literally just a google chrome window

  11. ebraiter

    Doesn't a lot [not all] of the phone stuff that they announced is already in Windows Phone?

  12. jf-nyc

    How about Google integrate Google Assistant with Exchange email accounts?

  13. GuniGuGu

    This is something google needs to work on immediately... And go above and beyond. I love the pixel phones, they're clean and smart with great cameras. But Samsung phones with Microsoft yourphone is sooooo goooood, I'm locked into Samsung until I get better android integration with windows.

  14. melinau

    Is this a mini outbreak of the infamous "OS Wars" of decades ago?

    I was thoroughly pigged-off by those & I'm unimpressed today by how various companies are rolling-out various "our brand only" bits & bobs.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I like to mix 'n match bits of kit to meet my personal requirements - hence although I have an iPad but no other Apple kit. I have a Galaxy Watch, but not a Samsung 'phone. In both instances, despite paying the full price for each gadget I get a poorer level of service than if I had bought-in fully to Apple or Samsung's walled gardens.


    I completely understand why Companies do this, but nonetheless the blatant crudeness of the approach is offensive, especially when applied to notionally "Open Source" systems like Android.

  15. cmdrkeene

    I love what MS has done with Your Phone app honestly, I'm hoping Google doesn't jank that up.

    • jdawgnoonan

      I love the potential of the YourPhone app, but it doesn't work very well. I find using the PWA for the Google Messages web app to be far more reliable for texting from my PC through my phone compared to YourPhone. The YourPhone app does not sync well for messages that were read in either direction, and is very janky for notifications. I simply don't find myself wanting to run apps on my phone through my PC often enough to make it feel worth the effort and issues.

      • jdawgnoonan

        Working with Acer and HP is weird to me. That sounds more like wanting to work on bloatware than on serious software. They should be working with Microsoft.

      • sgbassett

        I rarely use YP for running Android apps, but for me YP is nearly flawless for messages and notifications. I use YP with my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (and Galaxy 10e before that) set up on four different Windows PC's (desktop on the wired network) and three laptops of varying ages (one Windows 11, two Windows 10) connected to the Wi-Fi network. YP works reliably on all of them.

  16. OldITPro2000

    Bizarre. Why not work with Microsoft on this? Instead Google is working with Acer, HP, and…Intel?


    It reminds me of the Your Phone integration. Why not work with Google on that? Instead Microsoft partnered with Samsung and the full-featured integration is reserved for their devices.


    Add in the Android Amazon App Store on Windows and we have a confusing mess.

    • lvthunder

      They have a history of hating each other. It seems the only teams that can get along is the Edge and Chromium Team.

    • whistlerpro

      Apart from the obvious cut-throat rivalry between the two companies, I think Google want to do it themselves so they can have 'Apple-like' control over the experience.


      Remember how Apple used to enforce their own user interface guidelines for Apps like iTunes and QuickTime even when they were on Windows? Maybe not to that level, but close.


      If they use Microsoft's tools and integrations, they are stuck with a Microsoft style user experience.

      • whistlerpro

        "It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell." - Steve Jobs talking about iTunes on Windows.

        • darkgrayknight

          This seems so ironic, because iTunes was about the worst software made for Windows. Every Apple software built for Windows was buggy as heck, so it was more like a glass of crude oil than ice water.


          I think the underlying differences between macOS and Windows were too much for Apple developers to write decent Windows software. Surprisingly (or not), Microsoft can write decent software for macOS and iOS.

          • pecosbob04

            "I think the underlying differences between macOS and Windows were too much for Apple developers to write decent Windows software. Surprisingly (or not), Microsoft can write decent software for macOS and iOS."

            I wonder how many developers of any flavor (skillset) Apple had on staff when iTunes for Windows was developed compared to today?

        • geoff

          Itunes is probably the worst Windows software of all time.


          Flash would be a close second.

  17. mattbg

    It's interesting that Google is working on Windows integration and not Microsoft.


    I had the same reaction to this as I did to when Google said that they were going to make Android games work on Windows late last year.


    It just seems so disjointed that Microsoft is working on Android app compatibility using Amazon's store in Windows 11, while Google is doing something themselves that uses the Play store without mentioning Microsoft's involvement much :)


    Is this being enabled by the whole "store within a store" concept that Microsoft was talking about, maybe?

    • whistlerpro

      No this is (seemingly) completely separate from Microsoft's efforts to open up its store and integrate with Android. Google wants to do integration its own way. I wonder if they will try and get it to work on other PCs by using Chrome?


      I don't blame them for not trusting Microsoft, as it's clear MS would happily eat Google's lunch if they could.

  18. Bart

    Two companies trying to integrate a stack from two completely different OS's without working with each other. Winning. 🙄

  19. pungkuss

    Looks like Google wants to control the experience. I can understand not wanting the playstore inside the Microsoft store.... That makes no sense. Just makes the Microsoft store look better than the wasteland that it is. I don't understand why Google would work with Microsoft on the fast pair though.

  20. jimchamplin

    Yes.


    Because Intel, HP, and Acer have access to the Windows code and core API…


    … wait… What!?

  21. sgbassett

    I really like Your Phone. I don’t see how that adds anything I would be interested in beyond what Your Phone already offers. I used a Samsung phone, so maybe that explains why I am so happy with Your Phone. Are there features of Your Phone that work on my Samsung that would not work if I used a Pixel?

    • geoff

      Your Phone works OK for me.

      I use it a lot. mainly for triage of photos, and sending SMS messages to people who aren't using WhatsApp or Signal (which both have PC companion Apps which are also good).


      Android, yes, but it's NOT Samsung.


      Also, why YOUR Phone?

      I'm actually using *MY* Phone. That ""Your"" Phone name is stupid.

    • wright_is

      I never got YourPhone to work, at work and at home, the Wi-Fi is on a diffrerent subnet to the wired devices (PCs). And YP will only recognize a device as local if it is on the same subnet.

      • ebraiter

        My Galaxy S21 is using only my data plan at home and is working perfectly with Windows 10 which is on my home network [and wired]. Text messages, photos and others work well.

      • sgbassett

        Isn't that just a configuration issue? My desktop PC is wired to the router (Netgear Orbi) but my Samsung phone is (obviously) on the wireless network. In my network, they share the same subnet. Is yours configured for separate subnets for security or speed reasons? Wouldn't there be other options that would allow you to have them on the same subnet and still be fast and secure? I read somewhere that separate subnets for wired and wireless was a thing several years ago, but improvements in networking hardware have made the speed differences minimal, especially for typical household or small office networks.

    • jordan_meyer

      Yes MS and Samsung artificially limit the Android app mirroring to just Samdumb devices.

      • miamimauler

        @jordan_meyer


        "Yes MS and Samsung artificially limit the Android app mirroring to just Samdumb devices"


        Samdumb...really? Why not go all the way and show just how silly you are by using M$, Scroogle or crApple.

  22. bats

    LOL....Google is going for the win here. If Google can do this, the brand "Windows" will simply be regulated to just a business/enterprise brand. Like I have mentioned before, what Microsoft offers (consumer-wise) no one cares for. The evidence for that, is the fact that Windows is no longer the number 1 operating system in the world. Yeah, the operating system won't go away, but it would be like Google taking over the desktop experience based on their highly and more popular apps (across the board). It's kind like Microsoft owning this big house, but Google is decorating it to make it look like a Chromebook or a Pixel phone. After all, why not? Practically everyone in the world owns and uses a Google "computer" in their pocket. In addition to that, you got the education market. That's practically 2 out 3 , with only the enterprise market that Google needs to totally own everything.

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