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How to Use Google Messages on Linux

by News Times USA


If you’re an Android user, you probably use Google Messages to send and receive text messages on your device. But did you know you can also access Messages from your computer and chat with your contacts while sitting at your desk?

Well, it’s possible to do so, thanks to the device pairing feature on Messages. If you’re wondering how to get it on your Linux desktop, it’s possible using Google Messages for Desktop and Messages for Web.

Let’s take a look at using both of these methods to get Messages on your Linux desktop.


Google Messages for Desktop vs. Messages for Web

While both Google Messages for Desktop and Messages for Web let you view and reply to your conversations on Google Messages, there are differences and advantages to each of them.

Messages for Web is Google’s official web client for Messages that lets you access your Google Messages chats on your Linux desktop using a web browser. It doesn’t require installation, and therefore, it’s easy to get started.

On the other hand, Google Messages for Desktop is a non-official native Messages client for Linux. It installs on your Linux desktop and runs independently of the web browser.

In addition, being a desktop client, Google Messages for Desktop can leverage system notifications more effectively to send you prompt notifications. While the web client also sends you notifications, you may sometimes get delayed alerts or no alerts at all.

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1. Messages for Web

Messages for Web is Google’s official solution to put Messages on desktop. It’s accessible from any web browser on any operating system, be it Linux, macOS, or Windows, and you can get it working instantly without having to install anything. Here’s how.

First, make sure you’re running the latest version of Messages on your Android phone. You can check if a new update is available from the Play Store.

Related: Google Play Store Isn’t Auto-Updating Apps? Try These Fixes

Next, fire up your favorite web browser on your Linux machine, and go to messages.google.com/web.

using Messages for Web on Linux

Head back to your Android phone and make sure you’re connected to the internet. Then, open the Messages app, click on the ellipsis button in the upper-right corner, and select Device pairing from the menu options. Tap on the QR code scanner on the following screen.

Now, point your phone’s camera to the QR code displayed on the Messages for Web website on your desktop. Once your phone scans this code, it will pair with the Messages web client, and all your conversations will sync.

Messages for Web will now prompt you with a Show notifications pop-up. Click Allow to start receiving notifications for incoming messages.

Similarly, it will also give you an option to remember this computer and keep it paired to your phone, even when you close the tab. Click Yes or No thanks here, based on your preference.

using Messages for Web on Linux

Once the setup is complete, you can start exchanging messages with your contacts from the web client. In fact, not only text messages, but you can also send emojis, stickers, and GIFs, and even attach media in your conversations.

More Messages for Web Options

Messages for Web also gives you a few other options besides the usual exchange of text messages. Some of these options include:

  • Dark mode
  • Archived
  • Spam & blocked
  • Settings
  • Unpair

To access these options, click the ellipsis button in the left-hand pane on Messages for Web.

2. ​​Google Messages for Desktop

Google Messages for Desktop is a Nativefier app that turns Messages for Web into a desktop client for your Linux computer.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Nativefier is a tool that allows you to create a desktop app from any website. It works by generating an Electron wrapper based on the supplied URL of the website, which can then be assigned a shortcut on your desktop for quick access.


While you can generate this wrapper for Google Messages yourself, there’s already one available on GitHub, aptly called Google Messages for Desktop. Here’s how to use it on your Linux machine.

First things first, head over to the link below and download the latest version of Google Messages for Desktop on your computer.

Download: Google Messages for Desktop

Open a terminal and use the cd and ls commands to navigate to Downloads or any other directory where you’ve downloaded the file.

Next, enter the following command to unzip the downloaded file:

unzip google-message-linux_v*.zip

Navigate to the extracted directory using the cd command:

cd Linux

Once inside the directory, cd again into the GoogleMessages-linux-x64 directory.

cd GoogleMessages-linux-x64

Now, run the below command to give GoogleMessages execute permissions:

sudo chmod +x GoogleMessages

When prompted for a password, enter your superuser password to proceed.

Finally, run Google Messages using:

./GoogleMessages

Related: The Chmod Command and Linux File Permissions Explained

Once Messages is up and running, you’ll need to set it up before you can start sending and receiving messages. To do this, go to your phone and open the Messages app.

Click on the ellipsis icon in the top-right corner and select Device pairing. Now, point your device’s camera to the QR code displayed on the Messages desktop client on your machine.

Google Messages should now sync and display all your conversations from the mobile app to the desktop client. And you should be able to send and receive text messages with your contacts right from the Messages app on your Linux desktop.

All other Messages options, such as dark mode, spam & blocked, etc., are available under the ellipsis menu, just like they were on the Messages web client, as mentioned in the previous section.

Add a Shortcut to Run Messages Instantly

Although you can run the client from the terminal, it isn’t very convenient and consumes a lot of time. So what you can do instead is create a shortcut for Google Messages in the Applications menu.

For this, open the terminal and run the following command to create a shortcut file:

nano ~/.local/share/applications/Android-Messages.desktop

Add the following entries to this file:

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0.0
Name=Google Messages
Comment=Send and recieve messages from your Android Phone
Keywords=Message;Messaging;Android;SMS
Exec=/path/to/installfolder/android-messages
Icon=/path/to/installfolder/resources/app/icon.png
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=Internet;Application;
StartupWMClass=google-messages-nativefier-f3cfa3


While you do this, replace the values for Icon and Exec with the appropriate paths. Once done, hit Ctrl + O to write out and save the changes. Hit Ctrl + W to exit.

Now, you should be able to see an app shortcut in the Applications menu with the name Google Messages. Click it to launch the app.

Unpairing a Device From the Google Messages Web/Desktop Client

If you ever wish to unpair your Android device from the Google Messages web or desktop client, you can do it from either the web/desktop client or the mobile app.

To delete a device from the Messages web/desktop client, click the ellipsis button and select Unpair from the menu.

unpairing a device on Google Message

When prompted, hit the Unpair button to confirm unpairing.

Alternatively, if you wish to unpair a device from the Messages app on your Android, click the ellipsis button and select Device pairing. Then, tap the X button next to the device name under Paired devices and hit Unpair to confirm.

If you’ve got multiple devices paired to your Messages app, you can click on Unpair all devices and tap on Unpair to unpair all of them at once.

Send and Receive Text Messages From Your Desktop

Being able to send and receive text messages from your desktop is a nifty functionality that takes away the hassle of having to jump back and forth between your mobile phone and computer.

Using any of the methods listed in this guide, you should now be able to use Messages on your Linux computer and communicate with your contacts effortlessly. Both the web client and desktop client work flawlessly, and your text messages are synced between your devices most of the time without any trouble.

Similarly, if you like the idea of texting from your desktop, there are other messaging apps that let you do so.


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