Android

Share information between your Android device and desktop with Pushbullet

Jack Wallen introduces you to one of the most efficient way of sharing information between your Android device and your desktop.

Pushbullet

I used to have an application called Chrome To Phone. It was an incredibly easy way to send links and such from your Chrome browser to your Android phone. That app faded away the second Chrome allowed for easy syncing of bookmarks, apps, and tabs. It has since been replaced by a free app that makes its predecessor hide its deprecated face in shame. That new app is Pushbullet.

With Pushbullet you can:

  • Send files
  • Send links
  • Send notes
  • Monitor notifications
  • Push items to friends

This can be done between:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Firefox
  • Chrome

The best feature of Pushbullet, by far, is the notification monitoring. With this, all notifications on the phone will appear as a popup in your browser. This means you don't have to switch back and forth between your phone and your PC while trying to be as efficient as possible, and the likelihood of you missing an important notification is far less.

With that said, let's install and use Pushbullet.

Installation

The installation of Pushbullet is quite simple. However, you do have to install the app on both your browser and your smartphone. Let's start with the smartphone. Just follow these simple directions:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
  2. Search for and select Pushbullet
  3. Tap Install
  4. Read the permissions listing
  5. If you're okay with the permissions listing, tap Accept
  6. Allow the install to complete

Now, let's install the app on Google Chrome (I'm installing it on Ubuntu Linux, but the app installs on all platforms that support Google Chrome). To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click the menu button on your desktop browser
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Extensions (in the upper left corner)
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click Get more extensions
  5. Search for Pushbullet
  6. Click the +Free button in the Pushbullet results
  7. When prompted, click Add

To get Pushbullet working on your desktop browser, do the following:

  1. Upon installing the extension, tap the bullet icon to the right of the address bar
  2. When prompted, choose the same Google account used with Pushbullet on the smartphone
  3. Accept the permissions

You are now able to push from your browser and (if you enable the feature) see notifications that appear on your smartphone in popup windows within your browser.

Setup

Go back to your smartphone and open the app. You should immediately be prompted to select the Google account to associate with Pushbullet. Tap the correct account, and then OK Pushbullet to have access to view basic information about your account. Next, tap the Cool, I want this button (Figure A), then tap the Tap here to enable Notification Mirroring Service (you can enable/disable this from settings as well). You're now ready to go.

Figure A

Figure A

Pushbullet installed on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.

I will offer this warning: Enabling the notification mirroring service means that possible sensitive/personal information will appear on any browser you have Pushbullet installed and associated with your account. Texts and other information that appear on your smartphone will now popup on your browser.

Pushing items

Let's push a note from your smartphone to all devices. Here's how:

  1. Open Pushbullet
  2. From the main window, tap the Bullet button
  3. Select the item you want to push (Figure B)
    Figure B
    Figure B
  4. Select the devices that will receive the push
  5. Enter the information to be pushed (Figure C)
    Figure C
    Figure C
  6. Tap the right-pointing arrow

The item pushed should instantly pop up on the destination device.

Pushbullet is one of those applications that you'll wonder how you lived without. It's probably one of the best way to share information between devices and desktops. Just use caution when enabling the notification mirroring. If your phone blows up with notifications, you'll find your desktop browser to be a distraction.

What do you think? Is Pushbullet a game changer or a distraction? Do apps like this have a place in your mobile landscape? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox