Nothing is more annoying than switching back and forth between the computer and the phone while trying to work and text someone. It's hard to keep up with a good workflow and, depending on what you need your phone for, the battery suffers. For years, Android phone users had no choice but to use other messaging programs if they wanted to chat with friends from their desks. But if you didn't know, you can use Android Notifications on the desktop browser to write. Google calls these messages for the web.
It is important to note that the phone must have service and your computer must be connected to a Wi-Fi network. (However, it does not necessarily have to be the same network.) If the phone is off, your computer does not have Wi-Fi or you are using the flight mode, you will not be able to use messages for the web.
Messages are the default program for subtitling for Pixel phones, but there is also a dedicated app that everyone can download from the Google Play store to use instead of standard subtitle apps on Android phones other than Google. It is easy to use and there is no penalty from your operator to switch apps.
With Apple's iMessage, messages for the web let you continue calls from your computer screen. Note that you may have to switch your phone with the desktop from time to time.
Make sure your phone's Messages app is up to date before you begin. Now we do it!
How to create web messages on your computer
Open a new browser tab or browser window on your computer (we recommend a window) and navigate to messages.google.com/web/. A QR code will be displayed.
Open the Messages app on your phone.
In Messages, tap Settings (the three dots in the upper right corner).
Tap "Messages for Web."
Keep the phone a few inches from the QR code you see on your computer screen, making sure it fills the viewfinder on your phone screen.
Once you have scanned the QR code, your contacts will automatically be filled in on the screen, ready for you to start text.
Some Important Tips
Please note that the computer you are texting will not save your information unless you switch on Remember This Computer under the QR Code before scanning. If you do not, you must pair your devices each time. You just want to save your contacts if it's a personal laptop or desk to protect your privacy.
If you make text on a public computer, be sure to log out afterwards. If you forget you can get a notification on your phone so you know you are still logged in. You can also book the website so it is easier to write when you need it.
More than texts
When you have messages for web settings on your computer, there is a lot you can do about it. Start by entering the name of a friend or group and starting the text. You can also add a phone number. You will receive text on the Web for messages that you would like on your phone, and you will see a registration banner at the top right of your screen (and hear one thing) when a new message comes in.
Messages for the Web support much of what you can see and do with Android Messages on your phone. You can send your friends dozens of emojis, GIFs, photos, videos, and stickers. You can also enable dark mode.
You can't share your location, send or request money with Google Pay, use voice-to-text, share contacts, or attach a file. You will also not see suggestions for predictive proposals. But the time you save writing on the desktop while you work is well worth these few neglects.
Originally published June 18, 2018.
Update, May 1: Clarifies the need for a Wi-Fi connection.