Integration for Android Messages on Chrome OS has been in the works for well over a year. What started as “SMS Connect” then evolved to “Better Together” in the Chrome OS settings menu. Alas, the deeper integration of Android Messages has eluded us until we got a little sneak-peek at the Google event earlier this month.
We spoke with one of the developers who is working directly on this project and he showed us the feature up and running on a Pixel Slate. Now, instead of the Better Together setting, Messages, Instant Tethering and Smart Lock will all be grouped under the Connected Devices menu of Chrome OS.
Reports are now popping up that the new feature is live for some users in the Developer channel of Chrome OS. Initially, it appeared to be exclusive to the Pixelbook but thanks to an email from Clayton P., it looks like that is not the case. Below are screenshots from his Samsung Chromebook Plus that greeted him with the setup screen for his Pixel XL 2.
Before you go running to the Developer channel, you may or may not have this feature. We have attempted to trigger the Connected Devices setup on multiple devices in Developer as well as the Canary channel. I suspected that it may be available only to Pixel 2 users at the moment because of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL’s newness to the market. Unfortunately, testing with a Pixel 2 XL produced the same results. Nada.
There are some flags affiliated with Android Messages and the Multi-device features for Connected Devices. I’m not suggesting you tinker around in the somewhat unstable Developer channel but I know many of you will regardless. So, with usual disclaimers in place, here are the flags that may need to be enabled to use the Connected Device features.
Again, I haven’t been able to get this working. It is possible that the feature is available on a user-level basis or I may be missing a piece of the puzzle. It’s even possible that users with this ability are seeing what are known as “finch” experiments and developers are using the Developer channel to test functions before bringing Connected Devices up the ladder. Honestly, I have no idea.
If you do decide to test this out and have any luck, let us know. Drop us a line or comment below with the device and phone you’re using and what steps you took to get there.
It is worth noting that the dialogue in the setting clearly references new features as they are available. It seems fairly clear that Google is planning on much more than just messaging integration.