Android App Review: PushBullet

PushBullet (free) is an amazing app available that allows you to share information between your Android devices and your Chrome browser. I’m not sure how this company is going to make any money on this free app, but it’s available now.

As you see, the app works well to make transferring pictures, links, or other files between devices.

Let’s link devices and share

Linking up your devices is easy with the free Android app and an extension for Chrome browser.

PushBullet

 PushBullet is much like the Chrome to Phone app, but contains many more sharing possibilities.

PushBullet Push This

One of my favorite features is the built-in sharing ability that helps you share almost (I haven’t found any you can’t share) any file.

PushBullet Sharing

My old method of transferring files was to share the file to my online storage then download the file. Sharing with Pushbullet is still the same — share to my account, log in to my account, and then download the file to my device — but the app and Chrome extension make the process much smoother. I still don’t like the process, and I wish the file would automatically download to the device, but this app accomplishes its task well.

PushBullet uses your Google account to create the link between devices, so if you’re not so comfortable sharing that with app, you probably won’t like this method either.

You’re going to love sharing your device

PushBullet allows you to share your device with someone else, which is probably this app’s most useful feature.

Setting up sharing is easy:

  1. Visit pushbullet.com and log in using your Google account;
  2. Go to Manage Devices in the drop-down menu on the right;
  3. Click Share;
  4. Enter the Gmail address for the user you’d like to share your device with.

PushBullet Device Sharing

PushBullet Sharing Setup

There you go. Quick, easy, and now your assistant, associate, spouse, or any other person can send you documents, lists, or other files. I’m imagining there will be a lot of attorneys who’ll call or chat with the office and instruct their assistant to send them the document they mistakenly left on the file server. Of course, this also assumes you have an internet connection.

I found that the files transferred fairly quickly, thus enabling you to resume your task rather quickly.

I can’t find many issues with this app, except to note that this probably won’t replace your online storage, and probably doesn’t add too much value if you don’t share many files between devices.

Incidentally, if you do share a lot of files between devices, PushBullet also provides a great way to move files without having to connect a data cable. Obviously, since you’re sharing files to the cloud you’ll want to make sure you’re not sending confidential information (see this post, too).

Overall, there aren’t a lot of reasons not to have PushBullet on your Android device. Transfers are fast, the interface is great, and the app is easy to use. I give PushBullet 4 of 5 stars.

Get this app on Google Play

Update (3/25/14): Two recent comments, which I chose not to publish because they added nothing to the conversation, addressed the issue of Pushbullet’s privacy. Of course, the comments were only meant to troll for a response because they were both way off the mark — one accused me of falsely claiming to publish this blog and not actually being a lawyer; yes, troll, I am a lawyer, which you’d know if you took time to read a little about me.

But, despite their trollish attempt, the issue of app privacy might be valid.

Except in this case, where Pushbullet publishes their privacy policy and terms of service on their site. One comment suggests that the privacy policy is “downright scary” since Pushbullet can modify the policy without notice.

Uh, duh! That’s kind of the point of a company’s privacy policy, and if you’re not digging it, you can choose not to use the service, app, or site. Specifically, it’s the user’s job — i.e. “buyer beware” — to know his/her rights and obligations at all times. I believe most courts would find in Pushbullet’s favor on the privacy policy change, especially considering their reluctance to address bigger issues like terms changes in cell phone contracts.

The truth is, Pushbullet’s policy is pretty generic. Moreover, Pushbullet states, “We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information.” That’s good enough for me, especially considering I’m not sending anything of real value to Pushbullet’s server — most of my stuff is screenshots for this blog.

Similarly, Pushbullet’s terms of service are “borrowed” from a Creative Commons pages. If that’s not generic, I don’t know what is. Once again, aside from the binding arbitration clause using “JAMS” rules, and the 13 year-old minimum user requirement, generic is generic.

Of course I’d like to see stronger statements like “we’re going to fight subpoenas for you,” but really, Pushbullet is a good resource for “pushing” pictures, weblinks, and other small data items between devices. If you need to send a larger file, try email, Dropbox, or physically transfers.

Now, Mr. (or Ms.) Troll, is that sufficient enough for you?

Update (08/26/14): A reader alerted me to the fact that Mac users now have a way to access PushBullet on OS X 10.8+ using this unofficial PushBullet client.

2 Responses to Android App Review: PushBullet

    • Yes, the app works well. However, I think in most circumstances it’s easier to just send a link via text. Where I find the best benefit is to send files or pictures. I almost always push pictures from my phone to Chrome on my desktop it laptop.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.