Although Google has had two primary platforms for a long time (more if you consider The Web, Fuchsia, and other custom operating systems), Android and Chrome OS haven’t precisely crossed paths until recently. Fortunately, Google has been working on more than just running Android apps on Chromebooks to bridge the gap between the two. With a “Push” feature that will let Android phones, particularly Google’s Pixel phones, transmit their screens to Chromebooks, Google may be making its largest push in that direction, both figuratively and practically.
Over the years, Google has attempted to integrate Android and Chrome OS by providing Instant Tethering and mirroring Android notifications on Chromebooks. They still remain as independent entities for the most part, with only a few points of connection. A new function, possibly only available on Pixel phones, will bring the two gadgets closer together, at least on the same screen. This “Push” button will show on the Recents screen of Android 12 as a mechanism to “transfer” an app to a Chromebook nearby. According to the feature’s phrasing, both devices must be connected to the same local network, which is pretty much a prerequisite for practically all desktop and laptop app mirroring services.
For Chromebooks, this “Push” feature was detected earlier this year under the codename “Eche.” It would apparently use WebRTC, the same technology as Google Duo for video conversations, which would explain some of Google’s recent enhancements. Unlike video conversations, though, Push will carry additional data back and forth, such as clicks that will be translated to phone taps.
This Android Push mechanism appears to be comparable to what Samsung and Microsoft have already done with the Windows My Phone system. It’s a lot more than what Apple did with the “Handoff” feature between iOS and macOS, which just transmitted app information and state across the two platforms. Screen mirroring, on the other hand, might be more efficient if the Chrome OS integration is so flawless that it feels like the Android app is running natively on the Chromebook.