Pushbullet, the must-have cross platform app for effortlessly sending links, notes and files between all your devices has received a 2.0 update today. Along with a much needed UI change, the app also includes a messaging feature. Because that’s what we need in 2015, another messaging app. But there’s a bit more to it than that. The Windows app also brings Hangouts style, always-on screen chat heads for your contacts. Mac and Chrome extension users are getting only the standard popup windows for now.
It’s the new UI that’s the most interesting feature to me. And it’s for all the platforms. Even the drop-down menu in the Chrome extension was revamped. And it’s clear why. It might not sound like much, but Pushbullet just went from a service that lets you send stuff between your devices and occasionally your friends to being a messaging service. The Android app is now divided into three sections: Friends, Me, and Following. The Friends tab will work just like any other messaging app — showing a list of all your friends. The Me tab is what Pushbullet always used to be while the Following tab gleanes updates from all the channels.
With the new UI, everything is based on a conversation view that you find in a typical messaging app. This means that millions of users will now know exactly how to use the app. And that’s a big win for Pushbullet. Moving forward, People and Devices tabs are well bifurcated. So now, even a newbie can understand that all he/she needs to do is either select a device/person, and paste in some text or link and tap the Send icon.
But not everything is nice and dandy, unfortunately. There is a problem with the messaging feature — it offers no easy way to add your friends to it, including the ones you know that use Pushbullet. Unlike Facebook, the app doesn’t just scan your contact and tell you these people are on Pushbullet, “would you like to add them?” No. Instead, you need to type in the email address. But once you’re over that initial hump, the messaging feature might just be worth using at times, if not all the time, with your geeky friends. No, it’s not going to replace WhatsApp but there are good reasons for you to be using it.
I send a lot of links to my friends and doing so with Pushbullet is just much easier than manually copying links, going to a messaging app, then selecting the contact and pasting the link. In Chrome, for instance, I can just click on the extension icon, select the contact and the link is sent. In iOS, Pushbullet supports extensions whereas, as you might recall, Android already has a powerful share sheet integration. While this was already possible, the messaging feature means that you can also talk about the links right in Pushbullet. At least some conversions will be less fragmented, even though your whole messaging setup might end up being more so. You can download the latest version of the app from here.