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From desktop to Android with one click

Chrome to Phone requires two installations and a Google account, but once installed it's a nearly effortless tool for quickly sending links and snippets of text from your desktop to your Android-powered device.

Chrome to Phone requires two installations and a Google account, but once installed it's a nearly effortless tool for quickly sending links and snippets of text from your desktop to your Android-powered device.

Getting started isn't complicated, but can be a bit tedious. Before you install the Android app, you'll want to install either the Chrome extension or the Firefox add-on. Once you've installed this browser extension, you'll have to install the Android app on your phone.

Running the app for the first time will walk you through the setup process. You must use a mainstream Google account; Google Apps users aren't supported at this time. With a valid account chosen, the app will connect to the extension account, then ask for your preferred handling of links. Users can choose between having links open automatically, or receive a notification that the link has been received and requires user input. Both links and text snippets can be sent by simply highlighting a piece of text on a Web page and then hitting the extension's icon that installs next to the browser's location bar.

The extension components for Chrome and Firefox work flawlessly. However, there are some minor problems on the Android side. One of these involves problems sending snippets of text from a message in Gmail, where the result on the Android side is an attempt to open Gmail in the browser. Fox to Phone allows users to right-click on selected text and send it that way, as well as from the add-on's button bar icon.

The phone will automatically copy that text snippet to its clipboard, and a notice will appear on the notification bar for easy access. Sending a YouTube link, for example, will open the video directly in the YouTube app. It'd be useful in the future to have some kind of interface component to track what's been sent from the phone to the browser.

The Android app is impressively respectful of default settings. If you have a different default browser selected than the standard one, such as Opera Mobile or DolphinHD, Chrome to Phone will still open links with your alternative selection. It might be too respectful of prior settings, though. Driving directions sent from the browser will convert to walking directions in the Google Map app if the last-viewed directions on the phone happened to be for walking.

Sometimes, Chrome to Phone gets confused, too. If you highlight a link in a Gmail message and hit the Chrome to Phone button in your browser, the Android app side of things will attempt to open Gmail in your browser--not the link you wanted to send to the Android clipboard. The workaround for the Chrome extension is to open the link in your desktop browser and then send that to your phone; Fox to Chrome users can get around the bug by right-clicking on the selected text and using the context menu option to send the text to their Android device.

The minor bugs are annoying, but overall Chrome to Phone is an incredibly useful feature for Android phones that could also benefit Chrome's skyrocketing market share as it drives more people to try out the desktop browser.

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