January 03, 2014

First Friday Feature: MightyText: Web and Gmail Texting App

For nearly three years now, the overwhelming majority of text messages I've exchanged with friends, family and colleagues haven't started with my phone, but instead, with my computer, thanks to the ever-improving application MightyText. MightyText links my browser (Chrome, obviously) to my Android phone, and lets me send and receive text messages, including photos and emoji from the Web, and even from Gmail. Considering how much time so many of us spend in our email, adding text messaging is a no-brainer.

If you're a long-time louisgray.com reader (and thanks, by the way), you might remember MightyText initially launched as a Chrome add-on, called Texty, in March of 2011. (See: Texty: Texts From Google Chrome Via My Android Phone) In later months, they rebranded to MightyText, gained visibility from the larger tech blogs about a year later and can now sport hundreds of thousands of users, measuring by their Chrome web store stats. Meanwhile, as their user base has swelled, so to has their feature set.

MightyText's Web UI.

From the very simple interface you can see in my original coverage, MightyText now is best experienced through their fullscreen Web UI, or integrated in Gmail. As I have the MightyText Chrome extension installed, my Chromebook alerts me, often before my phone does, that I have an incoming text or call. I can respond from that notification, from the website or from Gmail, and don't even have to pick up my phone to interrupt my workflow.

Seeing Recent Texts on MightyText in my Gmail.

From the MightyText site, I am greeted with a history of texts, synced with my phone, and the option to keep the conversation going. I can add images from local files on my computer, send emoji (in those rare times I'm feeling silly), and even walk through photos I've sent or received by MMS. And MightyText even has a Pro option for just over $2 a month which brings advanced settings, such as themes, deeper photo backup, group texting and a lot more.

Sending a MightyText with emoji to Maneesh Arora.

But one unsung hero (until now, I guess), is MightyText's companion extension Gtext (find it here). Gtext adds a "Compose SMS" button in my GMail next to where I'd start an email, and brings the same photo and text history from the MightyText site to the place where I already spark most my communication. So from Gmail, I can chat (with Hangouts of course), send SMS or email, all in one spot.

Browsing Recent Photos sent in Text in my Gmail

MightyText even has a tablet client. So I often find myself reading a book or browsing the Web on my Nexus 7, and even if my phone is in the other room, I can browse or send texts, just as easily, even without a 3G connection. So texting isn't something I have to do on one device. It's something I can do from every single device, all synced automatically, with real flexibility.

Awwww... Viewing A Photo I'm Adding to MightyText.

You might call it a New Year's resolution, but in 2014, I've decided to use the first Friday of each month to feature something I use every day - even if it's not brand new. MightyText gets the January 2014 honor. I'm happy to say they were first covered here, before anywhere else, and are a real and growing success story. If you're on Android, and you should be... definitely check it out.

Disclosures: Given I work at Google, I have a bias in favor of great products that include Android, Gmail and Chrome in their ecosystem. You might think about Hangouts possibly competing with MightyText, but I didn't let that get in my way now, did I?