With our world getting more dependent on smartphones, it was only a matter of time before an application came around that would have the ability to transfer mobile notifications to the desktop. Pushbullet does this and more, with the ability to send and receive notifications from virtually any device as well as use the app as a group chat. Pushbullet sets out to unify the mobile and desktop spaces, but does it succeed?
How to install
Installing Pushbullet is very simple and easy to set up. Pushbullet for most devices can be found here, note that there is no OS X or Linux version, so if you use one of those then use a browser extension to achieve the same result. All that is needed to get everything set up on the desktop is just a simple login. Once logged in, the desktop part of the setup is done, next is the mobile device setup. Once the Android app is installed, open it and sign in to Pushbullet. Once logged in, there will be a screen saying that you need to enable notification access for the notifications on the desktop to work. You will also need to grant a few permissions if you are running Android Marshmallow so Pushbullet can mirror phone calls onto the computer.
What can Pushbullet do?
Pushbullet set out to unify mobile and desktop notifications, but has evolved to do much more including universal copy and paste and a messaging service. On the notifications side, there is the ability to choose actions from actionable notifications as well as respond to text messages within Pushbullet itself as long as the phone is connected. If there are certain apps that you do not want showing up on your computer, you have the ability to silence them whenever they pop up on your desktop by clicking on the option within the notification.
For developers who want to integrate Pushbullet into their apps or websites, Pushbullet offers an API.
Pushbullet is also integrated within IF, so virtually anything can be “pushed” to all of your devices, including weather reports and reminders. Pushbullet also has the ability to be used as a chatting service without using SMS through a phone, which is nice but not really that practical as it doesn’t offer any unique features.
You can also subscribe to channels within Pushbullet that act as a sort of news feed. If you want more functionality like universal copy and paste as stated earlier, you will have to get the pro version for $4 a month in the US. This includes a few more features pertaining to Android notifications like priority support as well as more cloud storage and bigger file size limits.
For developers who want to integrate Pushbullet into their apps or websites, Pushbullet offers an API that enables everything from website push notifications to building native apps for operating systems that aren’t yet officially supported.
The pros and cons of a unified system
I have been using Pushbullet for a little over a year now and while getting notifications from virtually every device I own on my computer is fantastic, there are some things to be aware of. If you get a lot of notifications, Pushbullet can be somewhat annoying while using your computer, every time something happens on your phone a little notification pops up on the upper right corner of your screen. This is great for important notifications, but can be a nuisance for unimportant ones.
The biggest problem I have found are with group chats, like GroupMe. When you are in a group chat with 86 people like I am, there is always a box in the right corner of the screen. You are able to mute certain notifications but it is not always ideal, depending on the situation.
There is also the ability to send almost anything to any device you have to another through Pushbullet.
However there is a plus side to a unified system however, having the ability to not miss anything that goes on is a huge plus. Since your phone gets notifications for pretty much everything and your computer more than likely does not, there will never be a moment where you miss something important as long as you are on one of your devices.
There is also the ability to send almost anything to any device you have to another through Pushbullet, so if there is an image that you want on your computer from your phone, you can just “push” that image to your desktop with almost no lag between them. Using the chat on Pushbullet is nice, but it isn’t better than any of the other messaging apps, so I don’t use it much.
Pushbullet offers a lot of functionality from a unified notification system to chatting to universal copy and paste. With the ability to run on pretty much every operating system whether it be a native app or web based app, there is no reason why an important notification would be missed. Also offering the ability to “push” almost anything from device to device, it has never been easier to share media and links between connected devices. There are some problems with this however, if you get a lot of notifications throughout the day, the desktop notifications will start to get annoying and while the chatting service is nice, it’s more of a novelty than something that would be used all the time. Overall Pushbullet is a joy to have and is highly recommended for people who never want to be in the dark when they are away from their mobile devices. Do you use Pushbullet? Let us know in the comments below!