Google makes the Chrome OS operating system that runs on Chromebooks and the company also makes the Android software that runs on billions of smartphones. In recent years the company has been bringing the platforms closer together by doing things like allowing you to run Android apps on a Chromebook, use an Android phone to unlock a Chromebook, view or send text messages from a Chromebook.
Now a new feature called Phone Hub has begun rolling out to Chromebooks, allowing you to view smartphone notifications on your laptop, among other things. And according to a bit of sleuthing by the folks at 9to5Google, it looks like you may eventually be able to mirror your Android phone’s display on a Chromebook — effectively letting you interact with chat apps, view photos, and generally remote control your phone from your Chromebook without touching your phone.
One catch? It looks like the feature may only work with Google Pixel smartphones. Another? It’s possible the trail of evidence leads to something other than screen mirroring.
Google wouldn’t be the first company to offer a screen mirroring/remote control feature that lets you interact with a smartphone from a laptop or desktop computer. Microsoft’s Your Phone and Link to Windows apps for Windows 10 lets you do something similar with supported Android phones… although right now the only supported devices are the Microsoft Surface Duo and a bunch of Samsung phones.
There are also a number of third-party apps that bring screen mirroring to iOS or Android devices, including Reflector, Scrpy, AirDroid, and Vysor, just to name a few. But a first-party solution that’s baked into Chrome OS and/or Android could provide a more efficient, reliable, and seamless solution for users.
Keep in mind that Google hasn’t officially announced any such feature yet. 9to5Google pieced together its report from clues found in the publicly available Chromium source code, which includes details pointing to a Chrome OS app that would allow you to hit a notification in the Phone Hub application to open a video feed over WebRTC while also sending data back to the source of the video.
It seems like this could be a way to either stream video from a smartphone app to a Chromebook or to beam everything on the phone display to the Chrome OS device, allowing you to interact with apps, games or other content from the Chromebook. But because some of the necessary bits aren’t publicly available, we can’t be absolutely certain that this is what we’re looking at. And because some of those bits appear to be hid in a folder that’s specifically for Google Pixel devices, it does look like the feature might be exclusively available for Google Pixel phones, at least initially.
You can find more details at 9to5Google.