11
Aug
GoogleSearch-Teardown

Last week, Google pushed out an update for Google Search, bringing the version number up to 3.6.13. While it added support for deep linking into apps and a few more of the bits to make hands-free operation a little more convenient, most people probably felt like they didn't get too much out of this update. As it turns out, we found one more addition that might interest a few more people. The best part is that it's probably ready to go as soon as Google pulls the trigger!

Sent From Your Computer

Google is preparing to send small scraps of text over the air that will appear in your notification shade for immediate action. There are still a few bits that we don't know, but it's pretty clear how this one works.

The evidence comes mostly from the code, but there are a few strings that comprise the basic UI.

<string name="phonelink_note_sent_from_computer">Sent from your computer.</string>
<string name="phonelink_note_save">Save</string>
<string name="phonelink_note_copy">Copy</string>
<string name="phonelink_note_copied">Text copied</string>

The notification isn't particularly complicated, featuring only two lines of text. The title (the top line with larger text) comes from Google, and it's probably provided by you. The second line, "Sent from your computer," is from the built-in strings. If the notification is expanded, it will also show a pair of buttons: Copy and Save.

The cool part is that the notification is actually useful, assuming the text is of any value when it's there. Hitting the Copy button drops the line of text directly into the clipboard. The Save button fires up apps that have registered for "Note to self" intents. This will run either the default app, or show a list if no default has been chosen.

I've re-implemented Google's code in a sample app to show what the notification looks like. All of the strings and icons are from Search 3.6, along with the relevant code, which is very close to the original. In other words, the screenshots below are simulated, but they are not mock-ups, so this is exactly what it should look like if "Sent from your computer" goes live right now.

2014-08-11 10.46.302014-08-11 10.40.102014-08-11 10.46.40

Left: sample notification. Center: toast message from tapping Copy. Right: shows current clipboard text under CopyCat.

2014-08-11 10.47.022014-08-11 10.40.42

Left: tapping Save starts an app. Right: the content sent to the application.

The one question that remains is: what event actually triggers this notification? The only thing that's absolutely clear from the text is that the text originated from your desktop. That still doesn't tell us exactly which product is responsible for sending it or what action a user would take to activate it.

I'm just speculating, but I suspect this will become a new trick for the "OK, Google" hotword detection Google launched back in November as an extension, and subsequently integrated directly into Chrome earlier this year. Any number of Google's products could take advantage of this notification, but we'll probably just have to wait for an announcement. In fact, it's possible that both sides of this equation are already live and nobody has noticed it yet. But that's pretty unlikely since Search v3.6 still hasn't gone into a wide rollout. Google will probably wait until it's available to everybody before flipping the switch.

Wrap-Up

It's not some elaborate UI, there's no hyper-intelligent code consuming stacks of servers, this is just a push notification with a little bit of text and a couple of handy buttons. Hey, sometimes the best things really are that simple.

There's no telling how long we'll have to wait for "Sent from your computer" to start showing up in our notifications, but it appears to be ready for launch at anytime. Who knows, it might even happen today. At least I can hope, right?

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • AfrodanJ

    I use PushBullet for this feature but I'd love it to be implemented by Google....in fact, if you can just go ahead and buy PushBullet that'd be fab

    • Derek Traini

      You are onto something here.. I like it.

    • Camiel Hirschberg

      I'm seriously surprised that that hasn't happened yet, i've talked about it a month or 2 ago and it still hasn't happened.

    • maysider

      better not, when Google buys something then Google cripple the service and later will destroy the service

  • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

    Just buy Pushbullet already, Google!

    • KC

      I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking this. I've no idea how PushBullet is supposed to make money in the long run unless they make their app pay, and it enhances Google's two major platforms so much it's ridiculous they don't give something back.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        Well, if you are not paying for a product, you are the product. But I'm not complaining. PB can use my usage data however they want. Features they offer are awesome.

        • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

          They said something about how they can't sell their product because it's not done yet.

    • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

      Jeez I hope they don't. If that happens it would be the end of PB's desktop and multiplatform development. MS would actually be a better buyer.

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        Pushbullet is built for the Google's cross platform browser Chrome, dafuq are you thinking?

        • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

          @yangm:disqus Not everybody uses Chrome, including myself. I use Pushbullet's Android, Web, and Windows Desktop clients only. Pretty sure if Google bought them they'd kill the desktop client just as they did with Snapseed. No thanks.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            And why Moneysoft would do a better job?

          • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

            @yangm:disqus "Moneysoft?" As opposed to Google, which doesn't make any money and exists purely for public benefit, right?

            Simple: current Office development supports web, Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS. Google of late has been Web, Android, and Chrome 1st and everyone else much later, if at all.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            I'm sorry to disappoint you but OS X version of Office is crappy (and still Office 2010 based).
            How come Google, being bigger than Microsoft, makes less profit? Show me some arguments.

          • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

            OS X version of Office is crappy

            That's your opinion. My point is that it's actively supported.

            How come Google, being bigger than Microsoft, makes less profit?

            Poor management by Google. LOLOLOL thanks for that one.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            Dude, do some research. Office for Mac crashes as hell (and has poor font management, which requires you to disable system fonts in order to be able to launch it before the year ends).

          • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

            As I said, my point is that it's supported. Period. I wasn't commenting on stability or bugs.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            It is not like Microsoft has that amazing management also. Someone is making lots of loss with Windows Phone and Surface (let's not forget about Xbox), hell, they make profit from Google's Android!

          • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

            hell, they make profit from Google's Android!

            Making money legally off someone else's product is called brilliance. I'll take that $, thanks.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            I don't think so. Windows Phone make them lose money, if people stop using Android, they will have the biggest hole in their history, bleeding money.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            Some Googling shows me the opposite, with most graphics showing Google's profit as being the double as the Microsoft's.
            Go lie about something else.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            "I wasn't commenting on stability or bugs."
            Let's release this product across 2 platforms and update only one of them. And also, f* the other platform, we released it, what else did you expect from us?
            It's not like having an incomplete product makes it any better than having no product at all.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            By what metric do you assert Google is bigger than Microsoft? MS outnumbers Google in employees by more than double. MS owns numerous subsidiaries that, by themselves, probably outnumber Google. MS has products and services in every market Google is in, plus countless others.

          • armandito

            Better for him he means. Selfish as f***

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Well too bad, who cares for people that use shitty browsers?

        • CoreRooted

          Actually, PB IS NOT written specifically for Chrome at all. PB currently supports 2 of the 4 modern browsers and has clients for most platforms (Android, Windows Phone, iOS, Windows, and Mac (coming soon)). So, absolutely not just geared at a single ecosystem.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            Let me change is to was. Only windows has a desktop app, while others have to use chrome. The most powerful app is the Android one, also there are some good piece of api others can use (there's even a non official OS X client).
            Again I don't see why Google would do something bad with pushbullet.

  • http://thepolymath.in/ Deepansh Khurana

    New AP app icon with the new logo. :3 On topic, though I use Pushbullet a lot, I'd still love this in Search. Anyway, why hasn't Google bought Pushbullet yet?

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Android Police doesn't have its own app... if not counting the two third-party ones

      • http://thepolymath.in/ Deepansh Khurana

        I think that when the new design launches, they do.

  • Akshat Mittal

    The new Android Police logo in one of the screenshots, I like it. AP likes teasers. :P

    • mgamerz

      Someday they will update their 'phone' store icon from 2009.

      • Simon Belmont

        Hope not. My first phone was an HTC Hero.

        I always liked that they kept that little nod to the early days of Android. Just my two cents.

    • veRdiKt

      Yeah because this website has the weakest layout ever.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      The teasing is unbearable

    • Mark Curtis

      Wait, so ANDROID police's logo uses the iOS design paradigm of a rounded square? Lovely.

    • LOL

      It will only take 20-30 years to implement along with the new "coming soon" layout.

  • Matthew Wu

    PushBullet, PushBullet, Push... "Okay Google, PushBullet"

  • archercc

    Google Voice integration, confirmed!

    /s

  • MotDetoyr

    Chrome to mobile??? I would love that

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    They just need to buy Pushbullet and make it stock Android feature

    • Arthur Dent

      So true.

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    "I've re-implemented Google's code in a sample app"

    Shit this is getting serious, guys. Wow.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      This situation really wasn't a very big deal. The code to create a notification is pretty compartmentalized, and I happen to have done a LOT of work with notifications already, so I'm familiar with the territory. It was just a matter of fixing a few lines to point to the right things.

      With that said, I'll be doing more of this in the future.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        Yes, please, thank you! =D

  • siddude11

    Am i the only one who is curious about that AndroidPolice app on Homescreen?

  • Christopher Bement

    I like it...but as others have said, pushbullet already has this and tons of other features that I already use.

  • MaryJane

    This would be really useful. Though I wish that I'd also be able to send an image, not just text.

  • Simon Belmont

    This will be pretty handy. It would be nice if you could push any text you have selected in Chrome by right-clicking.

    Or just writing something quickly on your computer and pushing it to your phone as a quick reminder that will be waiting to remind you in the notification shade later. I could see a bunch of good uses for this.

  • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

    It just got updated again today.
    version - 3.6.14.1337016

  • Barrett Jasper

    Mac had something like this before the cloud and all the integration now available. It was MyMacDesktop or something like that where you could copy a file (if compatible with iDevice) or text and select "send to device xxxxx" and it would be on that device almost instantly so this is awesome. I'm sure Google will take it much further and it'll be awesome.

  • Just_Some_Nobody

    Hopefully this will be integrated soon. I have a few app ideas that could take advantage of it. Sure, there's pushbullet, but if it were integrated, my apps wouldn't be 'limited' to just pushbullet users.