Google is reportedly working on new integrations for Android and Chrome OS, including a new ‘Phone Hub’ with notifications and a ‘task continuation’ feature.
9to5Google discovered several code changes on the Chromium Gerrit — a collaboration platform for developers to submit, review and merge code into open-source Chromium. The Gerrit often reveals upcoming features since anyone can look at what the developers work on.
One code change 9to5 found adds a new flag — a semi-hidden setting used for testing in-development features — for a feature called ‘Phone Hub.’ The flag description says that Phone Hub provides “a UI for users to view information about their Android phone and perform phone-side actions within Chrome OS.”
Considering the only “phone-side” actions currently available through Chrome OS are the abilities to view and respond to messages, it seems like Phone Hub will usher in new capabilities. Another code change suggests that Phone Hub will be available from the ‘Connected Devices’ page with three new settings: ‘Phone Hub Notifications,’ ‘Phone Hub Notifications Badge’ and ‘Phone Hub Task Continuation.’
The first two settings likely involve viewing and managing your Android phone’s notifications with a Chromebook. However, it isn’t clear where the ‘Notifications Badge’ will appear.
Task Continuation, on the other hand, isn’t as clear. Likely, it will allow users to resume tasks from one device on another. That could mean using Chrome OS’ Android app support to pick up where you left off on your phone, or perhaps a deep integration of Chrome tabs across devices.
It’s important to note here that Phone Hub remains in the early stages of development. That means things will likely change in the future, and what eventually arrives might be something entirely different.
Still, it’s good to see Google working on improving integrations between Android and Chrome OS. For some time, Microsoft has offered better integrations with Android phones and Windows through its excellent Your Phone app. Hopefully this will even the playing field between Windows and Chrome OS for mobile integration.