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The Best Extensions to Sync Chrome and Android

Posted by William Sattelberg on December 13, 2017

It wasn’t until 2012 when Chrome finally arrived on Android as a platform. Prior to this, Android devices used a basic browser that shipped with AOSP versions of Android not modified with Google software. Chrome arriving on Android marked a watershed moment in Google’s quest to achieve dominance in the mobile market. With Chrome’s popularity in the desktop sector, it made sense for Google to move their browser over to Android, along with the ability to sync bookmarks, tabs, history, and more. Since the creation of Chrome for Android, we’ve seen Google take their ecosystem to new heights. Nearly every application or platform developed by Google now comes with the ability to easily sync with everything else you do. In fact, Google’s fully-baked ecosystem is the reason plenty of technology enthusiasts stick with Android year-in and year-out, instead of switching to iOS.

When Chrome for Android was first released, Google developed an app called Chrome to Phone. The app allows you to push websites, directions, and notes from your desktop to your phone without having to send the content in an email or text message to yourself. Eventually, the ability to load recent taps from your desktop on Chrome for Android was added to the main app, and the desktop app was discontinued and marked as deprecated in 2015, before finally being shut down in March of 2016. Nearly two years later, and most Chrome users will likely find themselves making due with the Recent Tabs replacement inside of Chrome. Still, there’s an argument to be made that Chrome on your desktop and Chrome on your Android phone should sync better. Why can’t these apps allow you to view notifications from your Android device, or to respond to notifications sitting on your phone? Why can’t you use both devices to communicate, or to share items on your clipboard, or even move files between the two devices wirelessly?

Thankfully, Chrome’s extension market comes in handy here. While Google has lacked the ability to sync your Android phone to your Chrome browser outside of tabs and history for quite some time, other developers have come to the rescue. Several third-party options and extensions exist to help you get the most out of Chrome when synced with your Android device, and today, we’ll be taking a look at the best of them. These extensions are tried and tested, with millions of users and years of experience being on the market. So quit dealing with the subpar Chrome syncing experience offered by Google, and start taking advantage of the best sync protocol Android has to offer.

Everyone else

AirDroid manages to offer a lot of what we expect from Pushbullet, all at a reduced price that makes it a bit more appealing for those looking to sync their browser with their phone without dropping $5 per month on the application. Like Pushbullet, AirDroid offers a free tier and a premium tier for users, though at a reduced price both monthly and annually. At just $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year, the 50 percent (or more) reduction in price is an easy way to get Pushbullet-like functionality at a fraction of the cost. Though the basic application allows you to sync your device between your phone and your browser, the premium account adds unlimited file transfers, larger file size limitations (1GB with the desktop client, 100MB with the web client), multiple device support, remote camera, and more. Still, you can respond to messages and other notifications on your device for free with the standard version of the application, and the desktop interface included with the web app makes it ideal for users looking for a visual interface to interact with their files.

AirDroid may focus on implementing a file transfer protocol between your phone and computer, it’s MightyText, as you might imagine, that focuses primarily on syncing your device’s text messages between Chrome and your phone as a web app. Like AirDroid, MightyText has both extensions and web applications that sync with the MightyText app on your Android device. Similar to how iMessage works with iOS on your Mac, MightyText allows you to send both SMS and MMS from your computer using your phone’s number, all while syncing the messages in your actual inbox on your phone. MightyText also delivers on standard notifications from other apps like social media or emails, but outside of dismissing these notifications, you can’t act on them directly from your device. As you may expect, MightyText offers a Pro version of their app that adds scheduled messages, themes, notification live view, and most importantly, removes the 200 messages per month restriction from your device. Unfortunately for anyone hoping to grab MightyText Pro for a lower price than Pushbullet will want to change their expectations. The app runs users an insane $79.99 annually or $8.99 monthly, and at that price, you’re better off with any of the three apps listed above this one.

Compared to the other apps on this list, Pushline is both a lesser-known offering and one that has fairly-mixed reviews across the board. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time, though, and as an application with zero advertisements or in-app purchases, it’s a great alternative to Desktop Notifications. With the ability to sync your phone calls with the option to accept or decline from your desktop, adjust your phone’s volume, reply to SMS messages, and even dial a phone number, Pushline is perfect for users looking to use their phone during their workday while it’s on the charger or in another room. With the application only weighing in at 1MB and promising both low bandwidth and low battery consumption, you’ll likely be happy with the performance on your application, even if it can be a bit buggy throughout day to day use.

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