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‘Better Together’ will put your Android and Chrome OS devices in co-op mode

It looks like Google will launch a new service called "Better Together" that will bring new functionality to your Android and Chrome OS devices.
By
June 27, 2018
TL;DR
  • “Better Together” is a new service from Google that will integrate your Android phone and Chrome OS computer.
  • By having the two devices work together, new functionality is possible.
  • Better Together seems to work a lot like Apple’s integration between iOS devices and macOS devices.

Perhaps as early as next week, Google will unveil a new service called “Better Together” that will give your Android device and your Chrome OS device the power to work as a team.

Little is known for sure about Better Together as of now, but Mishaal Rahman from XDA Developers sent out a series of tweets giving the basic gist of the service as he could glean from publicly-available Chromium commits.

Chrome OS/Android integration called “Better Together” is launching pretty soon I believe. The strings are being finalized, and in the comments, it’s said they need to land by next week.https://t.co/lQ5uY5CMe9
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) June 26, 2018

According to Rahman, the Better Together service will keep your phone and Chromebook talking to each other and thus enable new functionality between the two devices. Some examples include:

  • SMS Connect, which will let you read and respond to text messages within Chrome OS. This will likely be different and probably more robust than the recently-unveiled Android Messages for the web.
  • Instant Tethering, which will allow you to use your phone as a hotspot and then connect to the internet on your Chromebook instantly. You can currently do this with any laptop, but it will now be “instant” with Better Together.
  • Smart Unlock, which will help you avoid typing your password into your Chromebook over and over again. Instead, if your phone is nearby, your laptop will automatically unlock.

If these features sound familiar, that’s because folks in the Apple ecosystem have had them for years – all three example features are currently available to people who have an iPhone and a computer running macOS.

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In fact, the Instant Tethering feature is also already available to owners of the Google Pixel 2 and the Google Pixelbook.

It’s not clear what devices will be compatible with this Better Together service. It seems unlikely that these features would work across the gamut of Android phones and Chromebooks, instead only working on select products. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the coming weeks!

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