<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/image62.png”>I spend a large chunk of my life in front of my computer. For those rare times I need to leave my chair and actually go do something in the real world, I sometimes want to take a chunk of the Web with me. Perhaps it’s a link to a Google Map helping me get to where I want to go (assuming it’s not the bathroom), or a bit of text about the place.
Google already offers something called Chrome to Phone, but it’s very limited. It works only with Chrome, and only with Android devices. Site to Phone, despite the similar moniker, actually supports all major browsers (not just Chrome) and all major phone OS’s (not just Android).
Upon arriving at the website, you’re presented with a huge button that simply cannot be missed:
Tapping the button generates an ID, and invites you to browse to it from the phone. This is something you’ll have to do manually. Grab your phone and tap out the address as it appears on the screen.
Let’s do that right now.
Rather than get an APK file or a Market link with a purpose-build Android app, we’re presented with a simple list of instructions using what the phone already offers. In other words, this is just a glorified bookmark. Some people may think it’s a bit low-tech, but personally, I like the idea of making my phone do more without actually installing new apps.
The instructions didn’t work exactly as planned, because I use an alternative launcher. I had to add the bookmark manually to my launcher (Go Launcher EX), but once that was done, it looked like this:
Tapping the button indeed brought me back to the page, where I clicked the “Complete Setup” button. Instantly, the window changes – I’m in:
That’s it! I can now paste anything in that box, hit Send to phone, and it will show up on the smartphone version of the website. Sure, the downside is that I won’t get push notifications and links won’t automatically open, but it took mere seconds, was free, and did not require any software installation. Also, note the huge range of mobile OS’s and browsers supported: Since Site to Phone is implemented in such a simple way, it can easily support just about anything that has Web access.
Okay, let’s try it out by sending some text. I just entered a bit of text on the desktop, hit Send, and tapped the shortcut on my home screen. The page reloaded on my phone’s browser, and I got this:
Yes, so they’ve added a needless escape character (I typed “I’ve” and they rendered “I\’ve”), but other than that, that’s exactly what I wrote. I can now easily copy and paste that text. Sadly, sending a link didn’t work as well as I expected it to:
As you can see, the URL wasn’t turned into a link. That’s a bit of a downer, but maybe I’ve done something wrong (please enlighten me in the comments, if so).
Back on the desktop side of things, you may not want to go to the Site to Phone website everytime you want to send over a quick snippet of text to your phone. So now would be a good time to look at the browser tools Site to Phone offers:
So there’s a bookmarklet (for anything and everything), an IE Accelerator and a Chrome extension. Let’s try the Chrome extension. We get a toolbar button, and clicking it instantly sends the current page to the phone:
Tapping the link on my phone’s home screen launches me instantly onto the site I sent to the phone:
But getting to my previous notes is difficult – going to the website on the phone just sends me to MakeUseOf again. I tried several times, but kept getting the same thing. This may be one case where this minimalistic app oversteps its bounds and tries to be a bit too clever for the user’s own good. To fix this, go into the options page and enable Device control panel:
Now, when you tap the shortcut icon on the phone home screen, you’re taken to the Site to Phone page even if you’ve just sent a link to the phone.
The Chrome add-on also lets you send text to your phone effortlessly. Simply select any chunk of text in Chrome and right-click it:
Tapping “Send text to phone” just works; you don’t get a notification or any other bells and whistles, but when you go to the website on your phone, you’re going to find that text waiting for you right there.
Site to Phone gets a thumbs-up from me. I love the minimalistic way this solution uses existing, simple and widely supported Web technologies, and the huge amount of devices and browsers it supports. If you’re looking for a low-fat way to get links and text to your phone, look no further.