Pushbullet: Share Calls, Notifications and Media

Receive Calls, Reply to Messages on Your PC

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This is one of those apps that you did not know existed until you stumbled on it and found it could be very useful. iOS users could share their calls and notifications between their iPhone and their Mac computers, through an app called Continuity, something that was still tricky for Android users. There was AirDroid, which allowed Android users to connect and share files between their smartphone and their PC.

But Pushbullet pushes the bar further into simplicity. It makes it so simple to share calls, notifications and even files between your mobile device and your computer. It works even better for VoIP apps that are for mobile phones and don’t have a version for the computer.

Pros

Very simple to set up and use. Things get done automatically once set, or within two mouse clicks or touches.

  • Completely free
  • Works on all common platforms, including Linux and BlackBerry. Also works as plug-in with browsers.
  • Allows seamless sharing of files to and from computer.
  • Instantaneous sharing of incoming calls and messages, as well as other notifications occurring on the smartphone, through push notification.

Cons

  • Files cannot exceed 25 MB.
  • Only one file can be sent at a time.

Functions

Why would one need an app like Pushbullet? Most people use it for its ability to seamlessly share files between your smartphone and your computer.

It is much easier than having to plug a USB cable or to set up an ad-hoc network over WiFi or even to try Bluetooth. With two clicks or two touches, the file is transferred.

Pushbullet is however here for another reason. It uses push notification to push events happening on your phone to your computer, thereby sharing your calls and other kinds of notification.

For example, you will have a call ring on your computer as well when it rings on your phone. This way, you will not miss calls and messages while you are away from your phone and working on your computer. You get even notifications from apps, like you received a new message on Skype, Viber, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, and even alerts.

You can also transfer links to and from your PC. So far, people used to email themselves the files and links, unless they want to retype the whole stuff.

Interface

The interface is very simple on both sides. One your Android phone, it is does not really need to have an interface unless when you want to trigger something like sharing a link or a piece of text or a file. So, the app’s interface is very minimal or, if you want, empty. Just a + sign to touch in case you want to initiate a transfer. Else, most of the app’s work involves listening in the background for notifications and events and pushing them to your other device. To share a document or, say a picture as a matter of example, from your Android device to your PC, you can initiate it from the file explorer, gallery, camera or any app that allows you to handle the file with the sharing option.

So, when you select the Share option on your picture, the list of sharing options will include Pushbullet with the words A new push.

On the computer side, each time there is a notification, a pop-up appears with the appropriate message on the bottom right corner of your screen. You even have the possibility to answer calls on your PC itself, and reply to messages. You can share files by right-clicking on them and selecting the Pushbullet option on the option box, which is included within the menu options of all shareable files. Else, you can fire up the interface for the app either by running the standalone app or by clicking the button that appears on a toolbar in your browser.

Down Side

Pushbullet is primarily a notification pushing app, so don’t expect advanced file and media sharing capabilities. It cannot open your mobile storage device and give all details of content inside, like a file explorer. You can only share files between the phone and your computer. But this in itself is a tremendous help.

The files you can send cannot exceed 25 MB in size. This will hardly be a problem for photos, but large documents will not pass.

Also it does not allow the sharing of multiple files at a time. Sharing multiple files is possible by grouping and zipping them and transferring them as a zipped file.

Setting Up

You can download the app for your Android phone from Google Play. Installation is straightforward and there is no configuration. But you should at least once fire up the app and have a look at the settings, in case you need to check one or two options to enable sharing.

On your computer, you can download the standalone version of the program and install it. This program needs .net Framework 4.5, which is not available on most Windows 7 machines. If this is the case, it will download and install automatically, but it might take some time. Alternately, you can install it as a plug-in for your browser. To do that, go to the Pushbullet main web page and click on the browser you are running from the list of browsers given. The rest goes the same as for any other browser extension.

When you share something, the recipient is given in a list, which is populated with the names of the devices you are using.

As identifier for the computer, it will use the name of the browser you are using. For instance, if you want to send something from your smartphone to your computer which runs Chrome as browser, you will select Chrome as recipient.

How does it make the link? Through your Google or Facebook account. Now, like most people, you muse already and permanently be logged on to your Google account (this is what you use for your email, Google Play etc.) or Facebook account. You also need to log in to your Google or Facebook account and remain so on your computer.

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