T-Mobile G2: His Review | Her Review

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chrome to Phone Review

Back when Android 2.2, Froyo was first announced earlier this year, Google demonstrated a feature called Chrome to Phone. It promised a way to immediately send links from your desktop browser to your phone. When it was demoed in front of a huge audience, it received a standing ovation because it did something that everyone wanted, and it did it well.

Unfortunately, Chrome to Phone is a 2.2 only feature. So those of you with devices running 1.6 or 2.1 are out of luck for now. Chrome to Phone takes advantage of a new push data system built into 2.2 that allows websites to push data directly to phones. This same system will eventually power the upcoming web-based Android Market, which was also demoed earlier this year.

Chrome to Phone is a combination of a Chrome Extension and Android app. Once both are installed, you simply need to sign into your Google Account and you're off. Push the button in Chrome and the webpage is immediately pushed to your phone where it loads automatically. You can push websites, maps, YouTube videos, and even highlighted phone numbers. To be honest, this was one of the primary reasons I installed 2.2 on my G1. I find myself needing to send links to my phone all the time and I couldn't wait to try this.

Verdict? It's awesome. It's so simple and elegant, and yet so amazingly useful. There's not much more you can say except that it works exactly as advertised. It makes getting directions easier since you can load all your map stuff in the browser, then push it straight to the Maps app on the phone. Epic.

Google has promised that future versions will add features like a history of all the links you've pushed for later browsing, as well as the ability to push things the other way, from Phone to Chrome. Both would be welcome additions to an already excellent little program.

I love this. I  hope I can think of reasons to use it all the time. It's so simple and easy to use, and really very useful. I used it this morning for maps and it worked beautifully. I pulled up an address in maps, got directions, played around with the route, and looked at exactly where I needed to go. I did this all last night. Then this morning I just clicked the Chrome to Phone button and headed out the door.

This is great for me. I personally hate trying to pull up the map in my phone (although the new Voice Actions feature makes this easier). I also like to look at where I'm going ahead of time, look at streetview and adjust the route if necessary. That is all very cumbersome to do on my phone.

I'm not sure how often I'll use this for viewing websites. Maybe if I have to head out the door but want to finish what I'm reading in the car? I don't know. Maybe I'll use the Phone to Chrome feature when it's released to do the opposite, because I would definitely prefer to view websites on my computer rather than my phone.

Pushing phone numbers can be really helpful if I remember to use it, but it's almost as easy to just dial it. But even if the only thing I ever use it for is maps, it'll be worth it.

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