Pushbullet is a free and incredibly useful notifications service that runs across browsers and mobile devices -- it lets you get customised alerts about a whole range of events as well as send files, links, locations, lists and notes from one place to another.
To get started, sign up at the Pushbullet website and then install the Android or iOS app on your mobile device. Here's how you can use Pushbullet to transfer almost anything over to your phone instantly.
There are plenty of ways to get files from your computer to your phone, from Dropbox to a trusty USB cable, but Pushbullet offers a method that's clean and quick. Open up the Pushbullet website in a browser window, select the file link (a paper clip icon) and you can then drag a file into the window or click inside it to pick one from your local storage system.
Pick your phone from the list of options on the left -- you could send a file to a friend too -- and then click the Push it! button. The file, like all of your pushes from the Web interface, will appear in a list underneath. There's a 25MB size limit on files sent over Pushbullet so you'll need to stick to smaller files. If you're on a Windows computer, there's a dedicated program for the job.
Get the Pushbullet browser extension up and running (Chrome, Firefox) and you'll find a handy new option on the right-click menu inside the application. Right-click on an image, then choose Pushbullet and the name of your phone from the menu to send the picture straight to your handset. When you open it up, it appears in your device's default image viewer.
The same method works on links as well -- right-click on a link you're about to visit or on a blank area of a page that you're currently reading to send it to your phone and read it in a mobile browser. You'll also see an option to take a screenshot of your browser window and send this instead.
It's always handy to be able to send an address you're looking up on your computer straight to your phone ready to navigate there. The Pushbullet browser extension includes a maps icon -- click on this to open up a dialog where you can enter the name of a place or a specific address. Unfortunately it can't automatically detect these details from an open map, so there's room for improvement.
When the link appears on your phone, it will open up in the default maps app -- you can then work out navigation directions, distances and so on. It's not quite as slick as Google Now, but it's a useful option to have available for pushing locations from computer to mobile.
NASA space reports
Pushbullet integrates neatly with IFTTT, so anything that can be used as a trigger on that platform -- emails, texts, weather reports, Twitter mentions, Nest updates and so on -- can be used to prompt an alert on your phone using the Pushbullet app. You can set up anything from customised Facebook notifications to eBay searches.
One of your many options is to get alerts about the universe beyond our planet thanks to the NASA Space channel on IFTTT. Choose Space as a trigger and you can get everything from breaking news to the image of the day sent straight to your phone. Another option is to get a Pushbullet notification every time an astronaut launches into space or arrives back home.
Pushbullet has other tricks up its sleeves too, including the ability to show your Android phone notifications in your browser -- head into the app settings on your device to get this set up.