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Have you ever looked at your Chromebook and wished that you could use it to send regular old text messages the same way you can use it to converse on Facebook Messenger or through WhatsApp? It looks like you’re in luck, because Google is brewing up something called SMS Connect for precisely that purpose.

Dug up as part of the Android 8.1 developer preview was a new APK called “SMSConnectPrebuilt.” This ties into a new app called SMS Connect and they’ve already unearthed the setup screen process for this app.

The point is so you can “read and reply to text messages on your Chromebook.” For that to work, you’ll need the other half of the equation on your Chromebook. On that end, you “enable multidevice features” and enable SMS Connect. For the time being, this feature doesn’t seem to be working, but it’s obvious enough that Google has at least been tinkering with the idea for long enough to have some basic UI options. Or it’s just a placeholder.

In either case, we can discern that this works by pairing your Android 8.1 phone with your Chromebook through SMS Connect. They talk about reading and replying to SMS, but we can probably safely assume you can start new conversations too. And you’ll likely get the suitable notifications on your Chromebook as well. That’s the good news.


The bad news is that it looks like SMS Connect requires “com.google.android.feature.PIXEL_EXPERIENCE” in order to work, so it’s quite possible that this feature will be exclusive to Pixel devices. Stay tuned, I guess, as these kinds of features may start out as Nexus/Pixel exclusives, but they eventually roll out to the rest of the Android army.

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