I must confess, I am not a fan of typing on a mobile device keyboard. Unlike the millennial generation, I cannot type out a novel on a phone in a day. Although my fingers can dance over a standard keyboard with grace and agility, the second I am met with that mobile keyboard, those same fingers find themselves incapable of typing a single word without fumbling, stumbling, and bumbling. So when Google announced there'd be a web-based version of Android Messages, needless to say, I was a happy typer. Considering I spend the majority of my working day at a standard desktop keyboard, this new service was right up my alley.
And so I waited. And waited. And waited. What was I waiting for? That special update which would enable my Messages app to connect to the web. After a week of waiting, it finally happened. Messages was updated and the Messages for web entry appeared in my menu. Rejoice! Without hesitation, I made the connection and ventured into the world of texting my contacts without having to rely on a mobile keyboard. Woot. Woot.
Only it wasn't quite a good as I expected. At least, not at first. Initially the service continued to disconnect from my phone. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. After a few days, the service caught up with itself and stopped disconnecting. I now had the ability to send SMS messages from my desktop. Things were (and are) good. This was a smart roll out by Google.
But how do you make it happen? It's actually quite easy. Let me show you.
What you need
Beyond having an Android device (which should be obvious), you need the latest version of Android Messages (updated June 21, 2018) and a web browser. That's it.
How to enable it
Open up your Android Messages app. From the main window, tap the menu button (three dots in the upper right corner). From the popup menu (Figure A), tap Messages for web. You will be presented with a SCAN QR CODE button.
Next, open up a web browser to the Messages for website. You will be presented with a QR code and an option to Remember this computer. If you don't want to have to go through this process after you close the browser, enable the Remember this computer option. If security is of a top concern, leave that option disabled.
Go back to your Messages app on your phone and tap that SCAN QR CODE button. Position the camera such that it centers the QR code and it will automatically register. Your Android Messages app is now connected to Android Messages for Web. You can send messages, stickers, GIFs, and photos ... without having to fumble around on a mobile keyboard.
It's not perfect, but...
The Messages for Web isn't perfect. It does disconnect and functions best if your phone and desktop are on the same wireless network. The service will work if your mobile device is not on the same network, but (as you will be warned) charges may apply and the service could be slightly more prone to disconnect (depending upon your connection strength). Even with that caveat, Messages for web is a boon for anyone that does a lot of texting and hates (as do I) typing on a mobile keyboard. If you spend a lot of time messaging clients, staff, friends, and family, I highly recommend making this connection. Your fingers will thank you for it.
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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.