It's been a few months since we covered Google's ambition to bring tighter integration to two of its core hardware products. Dubbed Phone Hub, the feature aims to enhance the relationship between your Android smartphone and Chromebook. Shortly after a visual prototype made its way to the Canary and Dev channels via a Chrome flag, it mysteriously vanished from the system tray and—until recently—has not made a return. While we still don't have a functional version of it today, Phone Hub received many visual and backend updates that give us a glimpse of what Google is cooking up to bring your phone and Chromebook closer together.
Smartphone tech has come a long way over the last ten years, but a few commonly requested features are still lacking. Battery life can't be measured in weeks yet, Android still doesn't have a decent iMessage competitor, and there aren't any first-party cross-platform notification mirroring services. Some of our desires might not be reasonable, but others are. And, at least in the case of notification synchronization, there are plenty of third-party services that can fill the gap. Do you use one?
The Google Glass team gave a little heads-up on Tuesday to let Explorers know that they could look forward to Wear-style notifications appearing right in front of their eyes. With the release of MyGlass 3.3 and XE 22, that promise has come true, and it's pretty awesome. As it turns out, more bits and pieces were hidden away, as well. After poking around inside of the apk, a few other upcoming features have revealed themselves.
Shortly after the announcement of Android Wear, the engineers behind Glass acknowledged the two teams had been working closely to bring many of the best features of each product to the other.
The latest update to the immensely useful Pushbullet app introduces the ability to fully sync your Android device's notification drawer with Chrome on your computer. Previously, users could only watch phone or tablet notifications pop up on their desktop, with a recent version adding the ability to dismiss them from either device. Now Chrome's notification center will fully sync up with your phone's drawer, allowing you to manage alerts even after they've faded from the screen.
You can access the Chrome Notification Center by clicking on the bell icon in your computer's taskbar or system tray. The notifications it lists retain all of the options introduced in the previous Pushbullet update, such as the aforementioned ability to dismiss them from both devices and the choice to disable future mirroring of specific apps.
Pushbullet has received its first update of 2014, and it's one centered around improving the notification mirroring experience. The app, which makes it easy to exchange files and notifications between multiple devices, already allows Google Chrome and Firefox users to have each notification they receive show up on their PC as well. Now notifications that do so can be dismissed from either device. This saves people from reading messages on their desktops but having to reach for the phone to actually clear them.
The pop-up also provides options to prevent notifications belonging to specific apps from being mirrored in the future.
PushBullet version 12.2 has just hit the Play Store, and it brings with it a healthy selection of incremental updates that round out an already pleasant user experience. One new such feature is the ability to set how long mirrored notifications stick around on your computer before fading away.
The app also now shows upload progress when pushing a file and gives users the ability to tap a download to cancel it.
Perhaps more interesting than these new features are the changes in store for the Firefox add-on. The extension has fallen behind its Chrome peer as of late, but an upcoming update will give it the boost it needs.