Thursday, October 17, 2013

PushBullet - Serving up Your Stuff on a Silver Platter

Ever since I've had access to more than one computer, I've enjoyed using cloud services. In the game between Google, Microsoft Live, and Apple iCloud, I'm firmly ensconced in camp Google. But besides Drive, I use a few other cloud based services to round out my repertoire. Dropbox (obviously) is the best place overall for me to store documents and pictures that I'll want to access long term, as well as to share large image or video files with other people privately.

But a there's a new (new to me) game in town for sharing items short term that functions a little more efficiently for your productivity. If you like things super fast & super easy, check out PushBullet. PushBullet is a Chrome extension and an Android app. You can push links, documents, lists, photos, notes, etc. from your phone or tablet to Chrome (PC or MAC) and vice versa.

Why PushBullet Over Dropbox?

You might be thinking what's the difference between this and Dropbox? And you make a good point. But for one thing, I really like the notifications in PushBullet. When you add something to Dropbox from your phone that you want to access quickly on the computer, you either have to be sitting right there and watching for that little pop-up (see pic) and click on it before it disappears. Or you must open Dropbox, navigate to the folder, and open the item.

The other reason to choose it over Dropbox is the way it can share notes, lists, and URLs in a manner that's just easier and more functional for certain circumstances. Keep reading, you'll see what I mean. 

How It Works

First of all, you need Chrome and Android. Frankly, there's no way around that. Sorry. Chrome works on PC and Mac, which covers most everyone. But, if iOS is your choice for mobile, sorry.  

You need the Chrome PushBullet extension and the PushBullet Android App. You begin with something you want to share from your computer or your phone/tablet. From your computer, you simply use the extension to "push" whatever it is to whichever device you want:

Chrome --->Mobile

Mobile --->Chrome

And from your phone/tablet, you either open the app and choose a link, note, list, etc to send OR you send from wherever you are in Android via the "share" intent that makes Android so awesome:

Simple as that!


As I was saying earlier, I love the notifications. When you add to PushBullet, you get notifications on mobile and Chrome. For example, let's say you compose a checklist of items to bring up at your next faculty meeting on your phone. You just push it to either Chrome or your tablet, depending on what you'll have with you at your meeting:

Then you get this notification in Chrome, without having to race to catch it before it's gone. It stays there until you dismiss it. 

And this notification on your tablet:

After you click on the notification, you'll be brought to (or the app if on tablet/phone) where the list is waiting for you to begin crossing off items as you get them approved! (...or probably not, sigh, maybe the cake??)

From the app or from Chrome, you can send almost anything. I really like this way better than emailing a document or digging around Dropbox. Also, after pushing an address from Chrome, when you open up the notification on mobile, it pulls up the address in Google Maps automatically. Nifty!

To Sum Up....

PushBullet is a clever and efficient way to share a wide variety of stuff between your devices. It serves it up in a way that's quicker than many other cloud services. If you're in a hurry and don't want to dig around your Dropbox for something, try PushBullet. It doesn't completely replace Dropbox, Chrome sync, Google Drive or whatever else you use, but it's a great addition to your toolbox of cloud services that's fun to use. 

If you've found other cool ways to use it, let me know!