Google Play Services let you stream phone apps to your Chromebook


A change to Google Play services may soon allow users to stream apps from their phone to their Chromebook. This is based on a new report from XDA Developers, following an initial teardown in update version 21.21.12.

Google didn’t provide any details in the underlying code, regarding exactly how it would work. But the implications of the code that was found are quite straightforward. The changes first refer to a string titled “apps_stream_enabled_description” which also reads “Stream apps on your Chromebook.”

The secondary change to this simply points to a string named “apps_stream_enabled_title” with the descriptor “Apps”.

What could this mean for apps for Chromebook users who have Android phones?

Now, this feature was first mentioned in February. And it appears that the change is directly related, and unsurprisingly, to the telephone hub. For clarity, it’s the Chromebook and Android feature that allows for deep integration of notifications, phone control, and more on Chromebooks. And, based on previous changes to this feature, Chromebooks will also be able to stream apps through this feature.

This will happen through a new system web application used to synchronize both video and two-way data over WebRTC. So, in effect, it will mirror the phone’s screen for the apps in question and then stream data to and from that source device and Chromebook.

In short, allow users to access apps on their phone, through a stream, on their Chromebook.

Will this be a Pixel exclusive and when?

As with at least a few other features, although they are not associated with Chromium OS, the current expectation is that this feature will be exclusive to the Pixel brand. Namely, it will only work with Pixel branded smartphones, if current speculation is correct.

In the meantime, there’s also no way to tell exactly when it could happen. And there’s no guarantee that this will actually be a Pixel-exclusive feature. It is if it happens at all. But it is certainly not yet active.

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