Not to be outdone by Apple and Microsoft, Google is working on its own desktop-level phone integration dubbed “Phone Hub”. The feature was first hinted at several months ago when code was discovered referencing the app, as well as some visual UI aspects. At its most basic level, Phone Hub will integrate Android with Chrome OS, allowing users to control aspects of their phone from their desktop.
Since the earliest mentions of Phone Hub, there seems to have been some updates, which include a number of new UI elements. None of the functions actually… function, but it should give you an idea of what you might expect once the full version rolls out.
From the looks of it, it seems Google will offer a quick and easy way to get started with Phone Hub. According to one of the descriptions, Phone Hub is set to do things like enabling the phone’s hotspot, controlling Do Not Disturb, locating the user’s device, and even letting users on desktop pick up where they left off with the Chrome browser on their smartphones. The actual UI is pretty simplistic, with buttons for each function as well as a small window for notifications. It’ll also have some of the phone’s status indicators like battery and reception.
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As far as notifications go, it looks like they will appear at the system level, and allow users to not only expand the notification but also respond to it, depending on the app. This suggests an even deeper phone integration is in the works, which would be exciting for Chrome OS users. As it stands, Chrome OS can only send texts through the Messages web client, and even that can be somewhat limiting.
Right now, Phone Hub is completely non-functional, but even if this is close to what Google has in store for the final release, it’s quite exciting. Microsoft has already done a good job with Your Phone Android integration on Windows, especially if you own any of Samsung’s best smartphones. It allows users to sync notifications, texts, photos, and even make calls and open apps. It would be a shame for Google to be outdone on its own OS.