Google Chrome-to-Phone Usability Feedback

Google offers an interesting extension called Chrome to Phone that works with Android 2.2+ devices to remove some of the barriers between computing. A small screen isn’t the best place for planning a trip or seeing transit data from multiple lines all at once – but a desktop is. With this extension, it’s possible to look up a web page and have it pushed to your phone. I use it frequently for grabbing directions or contact information for where I’m going and send it to my phone as I’m walking out the door, so I can finish the next steps (finding when the bus comes, etc.) while on the stairs.

My complaint about the service is the way the login mechanism is handled. Chrome to Phone requires you to be logged in to your Google account using the plugin to send to your phone. Makes sense, because the extension and corresponding phone app can automatically cause things to happen on your device without any additional user feedback – press the button on your browser, and the phone automatically turns its screen on and loads the requested content.

The sign-in page, though, is an actual web page that loads in the browser. If I designed it, the login username and password box would pop out of the icon in the corner. It loads a full on tab which presents you with the option of permanently signing in by remembering your login.

Now, the real problem: even remembering your password, you still must log in every day or so. You have to click “sign in” and allow it to load the web page. Once at the page, it doesn’t ask for a password – but if it knows enough to not ask for a password, it really should know enough not to need you to click the button in the first place. Especially since I’ve been unable to locate a “sign out” button, so there’s no real point to it.

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