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Android Messages for web works great on a Chromebook

While you can use the new Android Messages for web on any supported browser, it obviously works well on a Chromebook too. That’s what makes me wonder about the SMS integration of the upcoming Better Together feature for Chrome OS, but that’s a different story.

Setup is quick and easy using a browser and the recently updated Android Messages app; sorry iOS users, you’re outta luck. Then again you have your blue bubbles; I’m joking as my primary phone is an iPhone X. But to test the new Messages, I fired up my Pixel XL with Project Fi SIM card.

All I had to do was open the Messages app on my phone and find the Messages for Web option in the app settings. On my Pixelbook, I navigated to https://messages.android.com which displayed a QR code. Using my Pixel XL and the Messages app, a quick scan of the code paired my phone to my Chromebook. And that’s it.

Now I can text from the web with my son and his iPhone; he didn’t even make fun of the green bubble! 😉 The web interface supports photos, stickers and emoji. And Chrome OS will surface notifications in the system tray when messages are received.

If you notice in my screenshot, I was also able to install this as a PWA.

Sort of.

If this was a true Progressive Web App, there would be an “install” option in the Chrome menu as of Chrome 67. Unfortunately, there isn’t, at least not for me. Instead, I used the “Create Shortcut” option and on the icon for the web page, I chose to enable “Open in Window”.

It’s not quite the same, but close enough for now. I am a bit surprised, however, that this isn’t a native PWA by default as Google is reworking all of its web apps to be PWAs. Oh and I chose to enable the dark theme for my Messages as well, but that’s just a personal choice.

Regardless, it’s working well for me on the Pixelbook. Now if I could just use the Pixel XL full time, this would be even more helpful. My entire family uses iPhones and I use an Apple Watch; the only way to get music on it for my daily runs is through an iPhone. Sigh.

author avatar
Kevin C. Tofel

5 thoughts on “Android Messages for web works great on a Chromebook

  1. Yes, AMW works well. Actually, a bit too well. Now I wish that it could send messages as though they were sent using my Google Voice number instead of my real cell phone number.

  2. I’ve yet to receive notifications of an incoming text in the notification tray. Does this only work if Messages for Web is actively open?

    1. I haven’t seen any notifications on my CrBk as a result of enabling Android Messages for Web. But I haven’t left it open in a tab. One of the nice features about Google Voice is that you can configure it to convert messages into Gmail. And there are lots of ways to be notified of new Gmail. Android Messages for Web is a very intriguing Web app. But I’m personally finding it to be moot to me as a result of my being a long-time GV user.

  3. It’s the best app going WHEN it is working, but the link between the phone and the computer will crash over time, it is happening to ALL of us after periods of time. Until Google fixes this, this new app is no better than WhatsApp or Allo. C’mon Google, you are BETTER than that!

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