If you are a big user of SMS messaging and also spend lots of time working on a computer, then you likely appreciate the ability to send and receive messages on the desktop and having threads stay synced across devices. This is one of the big reasons so many people gripe about an app like Allo not providing this capability and forcing users to rely on third-party apps or services instead of being able to stick with their preferred Google platform. For Chrome OS users, that may be changing in an upcoming update based on some findings in a recent development release.
A user who has been running the development version of Chrome OS recently discovered a new menu item for “Connected Devices” that includes an option to turn on SMS notifications on a Chromebook. Making this option available to an end user is a bit of a challenge as one has to correctly guess the Chrome flag named “Enable multidevice features” is where it lives. Once enabled though, the option for SMS notifications can then be turned on via the settings page for Chrome.
Unfortunately, after going through the trouble of finding and turning on this option, users will find it does not actually do anything and will even turn itself off after one leaves the settings page. Still, the fact that this exists in a development build of Chrome OS suggests Google is trying to get to the point where delivery of SMS messages to the desktop becomes a reality. This does leave some questions as to whether it will just be a read-only situation or if full on sync and the ability to send messages from the desktop will also exist. Currently, sources have not located any other code specific to this function that would shed some light on how it may work.
One guess on how Google may roll out support is that it may live as part of the Google Assistant when that platform extends to desktops, at least on Chrome OS. The Google Assistant with support for reading text messages is already available on Google Home devices, so extending that feature to the desktop should not be a big stretch.
Outside of that, things become much more murky as users will surely be looking for support via their favorite Google messaging platforms, notably Allo, and whether this gets extended to other operating systems.