Chrome OS Will Integrate messages.android.com as a Progressive Web App

Android Messages integration showed up as a Chrome OS flag a long time ago. Soon after that, we saw “Better Together” a complete package that was designed to make your Chromebook and Android phone work “together”

Chrome OS Settings app currently shows a new section called “Connected Devices” which is what “Better Together” is used to be. I am not sure what the name is going to be when they finally launch this feature.  When ready, this is supposed to include Instant Tethering, managing your calls and text messages from your Chromebook and the like.

We are yet to see any of those in action, except Instant Tethering. Today, I can tell you how (at least for now) Google is planning to bring in Android Messages integration to Chromebooks.

messages.android.com as a PWA

The answer is in Progressive Web Apps or PWAs. A PWA is web app that uses advanced capabilities to deliver an app-like experience. 

If you remember, Android Messages are now accessible from the web at messages.android.com. The plan is to make a PWA for this website.

According to this commit log, the plan is to install the Messages PWA at the end of  “Better Together” setup.

Install the Messages PWA at the end of Better Together Setup.

This uses the new PendingAppManager API to install the messages
PWA once setup has been successfully completed. Currently, the
API does not grab the app icon or properly launch in a standalone
window, but fixes for those will be coming shortly.

I wanted to confirm that the PWA that they are referring to is messages.android.com. A  comment implied that they are waiting for another piece of code here. The description says:

Add profile keyed service for android messages for web integration.

This adds a CrosSmsService, a profile keyed service that
manages connection and pairing for ChromeOS Android Messages for
Web integration. This also includes a basic ConnectionManager
class for service worker events and
establishes . Message passing between service
worker and connection manager will be included in a follow up CL.
Design docs: go/awm-cros-service go/awm-cros

I took a close look at the code changes there and found this:

So, there guys, when “Better Together” finally launches, you will get a Android Messages icon on your launcher which will open messages.android.com as a PWA app.

We still need to know how calls logs and contacts will work. Hmm, Contacts has a web page already. So, Google can package that also into a PWA.

What do you think?

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