Getting mobile notifications on the desktop is a wonderful thing. It can allow for more productivity, as users won’t be taking their eyes off the computer screen to glance at a smart phone. For now, the only way for users to get Android notifications with PushBullet on Ubuntu Linux is through a web browser. This is fine for the most part, as most people don’t mind it, and the lack of native notification support slips their mind. Other Linux users, though, long for a good, native PushBullet desktop app – one that is web-browser agnostic and integrates into their desktop environment nicely.
That is where PB For Desktop comes in. This tool is a cross-platform implementation of PushBullet’s excellent service. It allows users to access all of the powerful PushBullet features (file transfer, chatting with friends, sending links, etc.) without needing a cumbersome web browser to function.
Note: this tutorial focuses on the Ubuntu (and Android for the mobile portion); however, PB For Desktop is also available for Windows and macOS.
When getting PB For Desktop running, Ubuntu and Debian users can rest easy, as there is a package file available. To install it, go to the developer’s Github page and download the latest Deb package file available. Alternatively, build from source if you use a Linux distribution other than Ubuntu. Once the package is downloaded, open a terminal window and enter the following:
cd ~/Downloads sudo dpkg -i pb*.deb
If PB For Desktop claims there are dependency issues, run this command. This will correct any dependency issues that might have occurred.
sudo apt-get install -f
Setting Everything Up
Open up the Unity Dash, search for “PB for Desktop” and launch it. Once the program has opened, PB for Desktop prompts the user to sign into an existing PushBullet account (with Facebook, Google, etc.) or create a new one. On the surface, there is not much different from the web interface PushBullet offers up. Where this version differs is its integration into the Ubuntu desktop. Lots of settings exist to make this a native experience.
To start receiving native notifications on the Ubuntu Linux desktop, click on the devices tab in the PB for Desktop interface. Select the Android icon. This will open the Google Play Store and prompt the user to install PushBullet for Android. Install the app, sign into it, and go through the setup process. When the Android setup process is complete, the Android device should be connected to PushBullet and viewable from PB for Desktop.
Users don’t need to do anything to start seeing notifications on the Ubuntu Linux desktop. That should happen automatically now that both devices are registered.
PB for desktop doesn’t come with a lot of settings to tweak. Still, it offers more than what is currently available on the Web and is competitive with the official PushBullet Windows app. To change settings, find the PB icon in the system tray and click on it. This area showcases many different settings that can enhance your PushBullet experience on the desktop.
For example, settings can be changed so that PB for Desktop runs at startup, shows notifications of recent pushes at startup and more. Users can also tweak the audio notification sound (or disable it) or snooze notifications entirely.
The PushBullet platform has long been a useful tool. All of the features that it brings to the table make it a great tool, especially for those who rely on multiple devices. The failing has always been that the services had a terrible extension, with iffy support on Linux. Though PB for desktop isn’t official by any means, it’s nice to see. As it grows, PB for Desktop will allow Ubuntu fans to have a better PushBullet experience.
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