A few weeks ago when I opened Messages, the text messaging app on my Pixel 2 XL, I was prompted to visit messages.android.com to set up text messaging from my browser. I had missed their announcement, so this came as a pleasant surprise to me. I scanned in a QR code on my phone to set it up and within a minute I had sent my first text message from the web.
This is a feature I’ve REALLY wanted for years. Most of the day I’m working on my computer. Instead of pulling out my phone to check a message and reply, I can reply right from my computer. I can read a message on my Garmin smartwatch, so my flow now goes something like this: phone and wrist vibrate, I glance at my wrist, if it’s an unimportant message I’ll leave it for later, if it’s important I’ll open a new tab and reply. It’s much faster, much more convenient. And if I need to send a longer text message I’d much prefer to type it on my computer than on my phone (previously I would sometimes type up the message in Google Keep, which syncs between computer and phone, and then copy and paste it into Messages).
For such a seemingly simple feature, there is quite a bit of technology behind it to make it fast and secure. It actually pairs with your phone to sync and send messages, meaning the messages are still being sent from your phone:
While the idea here is nothing new, the fact that it’s a core part of Messages is a pretty big deal, because it doesn’t require any workarounds or messages being sent through third-party servers. It establishes a secured connection between your phone and your computer.
This Business Insider article Google just updated text messaging for Android, and it completely changed the way I text does a great job of summarizing why such a simple feature is such a big deal.
From a user standpoint, what’s so refreshing about this feature is that utter simplicity. Google has screwed up chat and messaging apps for years. This is just a practical, useful feature, with advanced technology behind it, that’s been executed perfectly.