It’s been nearly a decade since the Chromebook debut and Google wanted to make it a grand event which ultimately led to the announcement of the Chrome OS version 89 which has some pretty cool features that isn’t found in the stable version of the OS.
While there are a number of these new features, one of the cool one we’ll be talking about is the “Phone Hub” which allows you to pair up your Android device and then use it to remotely control your phone and get recently opened tabs in Chrome.
In short, it basically lets you pick up from where you left off in your Chromebook browser. I don’t know if that feature is what users have been clamoring for but Google certainly have a great team of UX researchers which might validate the reason for making this feature.
Note: For Phone Hub to work you need to have Bluetooth enabled on your Chromebook and your phone. You also need to have Google Play Services Enabled.
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Link Your Phone to Chromebook with Phone Hub
In order to get this done, you’ll first need to click on the Phone Hub button which sits right next to the clock in the lower-right corner and click the “Get Started” button which starts the process.
From there, you’ll be welcomed by a screen with which you can connect with your smartphone. From the left-hand side, you can select the phone you want to connect from the dropdown menu and then click the Accept & Continue button.
Next, type in your Google account password and click Done.
Now you will get a message letting you know that you know both devices are connected and ready to go. Click Done.
Then you’ll receive a notification which lets you know the smart lock feature is turned on. There will also be a message on your phone which lets you know the devices are connected. So you’re never kept in the dark with everything happening between your smartphone and your Chromebook. The screenshots below offer more details about this.
How to Configure Phone Hub
The next thing that needs to be done is to configure your Phone Hub which can be done by heading to the Chromebook settings >> Connected devices and then select your smartphone.
Next thing is to turn on Phone Hub, Notifications and Recent Chrome tabs. You can also turn on the Messages features as well all from this interface.
Phone Hub will show your last two Chrome tabs, a few toggles for the phone including “Enable Hotspot,” “Silence phone,” “Locate phone,” and Wi-Fi and battery status.
Don’t See Phone Hub?
In case your own Phone Hub isn’t in the normal place where it should be, the first way to troubleshoot this problem is to first upgrade to the new Chrome OS version 89. If you are unsure, then head over to Settings > About Chrome OS to check out your Chromebook software version.
There you will see the version that’s running. If it’s not version 89 click the Check for Updates button and restart if necessary.
Another thing you can do is manually enable the feature. Launch the Chrome browser and copy and paste the following into the address bar and hit Enter.chrome://flags/#enable-phone-hub
Then set the “Enable Phone Hub” flag to Enabled and restart the browser. Then you should see it next to the Quick Settings area in the lower-right corner.
One obvious thing is the fact that you might not get 100% all the so-called cool features in the new Chrome OS version 89 as advertised by Google and the Phone Hub working efficiently on some smartphones might be a big problem as well so beware of these facts.
More reports from first-hand testers showed that the feature worked really well with Pixel devices which can be justified because Google owns both the ChromeOS and Pixel product line so I wouldn’t say Google wants to force its device on people but its evident that the device’s undiluted Android experience meant it will sync well with other Google products.