How to use Google Messages on your laptop or desktop

After a decade of searching for a solution to its messaging woes, Google may have finally settled on its messaging platform (no promises). News is Google’s newest service. It combines old-school SMS with RCS features to create a competent client—provided you’re willing to ignore more than half the people in the US who use iPhones. It’s packed with all sorts of cool tricks that make messaging a lot easier, like the ability to send text messages right from your computer.

Although Google has its own desktop operating system, you don’t need to use ChromeOS to send messages from your computer. However, you will need to use the service in your web browser. Here’s how to use Google Messages on your laptop or desktop.

How to send and receive Google messages from a computer or laptop

While many Android phones come with Messages pre-installed — like the Google Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S22 devices — not everyone has access out of the box. If you don’t already have Messages downloaded to your device, download it from the Play Store.

After downloading the app, follow the instructions to set it as your default messaging app. You are now ready to set up the Messages client in your browser:

  • Open your browser and go to Google Messages.
  • In the upper right corner, look for the News button for the site.
  • Click it to launch the Messaging web client. (You don’t need to be signed in to your Google account to load it.)
  • Open the Messages app.
  • Select “Device Pairing” from the drop-down menu at the top right.
  • Tap “QR Code Scanner” to open your phone’s camera
  • Place your phone next to your laptop or desktop computer and scan the QR code on the display.
  • Both the phone and computer will reload
  • Your web browser will display your inbox with a list of conversations on the left.

If you want Messages to stay connected to your computer after you close the window, be sure to click “Yes” on the pop-up message above Threads if you haven’t turned it on before.

The Messages web app works just like it does on your phone, from the “Start Chat” button to the same basic menu system. Even if you’re not signed in to your Google account, you’ll still see all your phone contacts synced directly to the web client.

Don’t forget to check the settings too. These are accessed via the menu button with three dots. Not only can you turn dark mode on or off, but you can also enable notifications, turn read receipts on or off, and change how messages are sent using the Enter key on your keyboard.

Is there a Google Messages app for Windows or MacOS?

The short answer is no. However, there is a workaround because, let’s be honest – Messages as a web app is not an ideal solution. If you have multiple tabs open, you’ll need to swipe to find the Messages window; if you have it in the background, you’ll have to minimize other apps whenever you want to find it. And while Google may believe that everything should exist in the browser, many people have a different opinion. However, Google Chrome users are in luck because you can “install” News from within the browser:

  • Open News for the web in Chrome.
  • Click the overflow icon (three dots) in the upper right corner of Chrome.
  • Select Install Messages.

There are other options

There are plenty of more robust alternatives to Messages that people around the world use. We especially like many of the best messaging apps with end-to-end encryption. If you’ve already said goodbye to Google’s messaging platform and joined the two billion people who use WhatsApp, you’ll want to check out our favorite tips and tricks.

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