Google is Working on a Your Phone for Chromebooks

Posted on August 17, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Chrome OS, Chromebook with 10 Comments

Looks like Microsoft may be onto something: Google is essentially making a version of its Your Phone app, but for Chrome OS. It’s called Phone Hub.

News of the new Chrome OS feature comes via Android Police and 9to5Google, each of which provides a piece of the puzzle. According to a new Chrome OS features flag, Phone Hub will “provide a UI for users to view information about their Android phone and perform phone-side actions within Chrome OS.” These actions will include notifications and task continuation, the latter of which would exceed Your Phone’s abilities and could work similarly to the Continuity functionality that Apple provides to users in its ecosystem.

According to 9to5Google, connectivity between your Android phone and Chromebook will occur over Bluetooth. And it has linked to a Google video showing how the notifications functionality will be enabled in Chrome OS.

And Android Police says that Phone Hub will include other Your Phone-like features, like app mirroring. Chrome OS today does support some phone integration, including Instant Tethering, support for the Smart Unlock, and the Google Messages PWA.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Google is Working on a Your Phone for Chromebooks”

  1. Avatar

    scovious

    I'm surprised it's not Pixel only, bravo.

  2. Avatar

    proftheory

    I would have thought Google was in on it from the start since they would have known about it being added to Android.

  3. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    Oh Jeez. Although having "too much" functionality is generally better than having not enough functionality, IMO it is quite unnecessary for Google to do this to/for Android/ChromeOS right now. You can easily go to the Play Store and re-download all the same apps you have on your phone onto your chromebook as well and after a few log-ons your life is "synced". Well, other than WhatsApp, which has an easily defeated "one screen only" policy. The one HUGE, GLARING exception is that SMS (text) messages will still only go to your phone. That is, unless you dig a little deeper into the store. For at least six or seven years I have been using an AWESOME Android app called MySMS to send and receive my SMS's from any device I choose (including Windows phone until they cut support). I believe that Pulse SMS and MightyText among others do the same thing. The problem with this solution though is that you need to be a bit of nerd to be willing to go down this route in the first place, and that alienates too many people who want important features to "just work" right out of the box. That is why I am personally angry at google for still not having an "in-house" SMS relay service! To my understanding, that is still not a feature of android messages, so if that is the case then THAT is the functionality they should be rolling out asap.

    • Avatar

      nine54

      In reply to JG1170:


      In other words, Android needs an iMessage clone with apps for Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, etc. I agree. These solutions that "mirror" the phone display on another device do allow users to "send messages from their laptop/computer," but are kind of a brute-force solution. Instead, I want to be able to log onto any device and have all messages synced to that device, including SMS. SMS has been the kicker.



      • Avatar

        Jorge Garcia

        In reply to nine54:

        It makes no sense to me. Google has to understand that iMessage is one of the main benefits of an Apple device, at least to normal people. It's a given that Apple will never make iMessage an Android app, but the least Google could do is provide SMS syncing across all "their" devices. It seems you can do it via a browser, which is welcome, but apps should exist as well.

  4. Avatar

    codymesh

    Google should have been building these features for Windows. A long time ago.


    But now, after Microsoft decided to pick up the slack, Google decides that it's a good idea........for Chrome OS.


    Wow.

  5. Avatar

    dftf

    If I were Google I'd simply create an app (e.g. "Google WebDisplay" or "Google Cast-to-Web") and an associated webpage (e.g. google.com/webdisplay) and then make it so users load that webpage, open the app, scan a QR code on the webpage and then link the phone that way.


    Then you could do "Your Phone" but in a browser window: use the "browser notifications" for things like incoming call, new SMS message, app alert and so-on and even allow your entire phone screen to be controlled remotely in the webpage.


    Surely this would be even-better than Your Phone as it would also work on macOS and Linux, being web-based

    • Avatar

      Jorge Garcia

      In reply to dftf:

      Until a more streamlined method like the one you suggest arrives, I simply have a pre determined group of tabs that are always open on all my Chrome browsers. Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Textnow, My SMS Etc. Not the most ideal way possible, but it is such a beautiful thing to be able to keep your phone basically dormant and conserving energy while still being able to get ALL your notifications pushed to you on the larger screen. But you need to suubribe to service like MySMS for texts, although I believe Google now does route android messages SMSes to a browser (and nowhere else sadly).

  6. Avatar

    codymesh

    In reply to spacein_vader:

    obviously Microsoft didn't invent the idea. There have always been other solutions like Pushbullet and KDE Connect - which, yeah, is brilliant. But Microsoft's motivations and target audience for Your Phone is very different from the rest, and what Google is doing here is very much in line with Microsoft's vision.

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