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Google Chrome users can receive SMS messages on desktop in the near future

Google Chrome Canary has added a new experimental feature SMS Receiver Cross Device behind chrome://flags, Techtsp has spotted. It promises to enable the SMS Receiver API to work across devices including Windows desktop. Interestingly, this feature flag applies to all existing Google Chrome-supported platforms including Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android.

A description of the SMS Receiver Cross Device flag in Google Chrome reads: “Enable the SMS Receiver API to work across devices – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android.”

How to enable the SMS Receiver Cross Device flag in Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome Canary
  2. Open chrome://flags
  3. Locate SMS Receiver Cross Device
  4. Set the flag to Enable immediately using the drop-down menu
  5. Relaunch Chrome

The SMS Receiver API, now also known as the WebOTP API, notifies an application when a specifically-crafted SMS message such as a one-time password (OTP) is delivered to the user’s device, mainly phone. Chrome team explains the message must be addressed to the application’s origin and the application only receives an OTP code in the message.

Developers use phone numbers for so many different use cases. Some of the most common use cases are for account identification purposes, in addition to two-step verification and payment confirmation. In all these scenarios, phone number verification is typically done via sending a one-time password (OTP) over SMS.

However, the most inconvenient part in the entire process is having to manually enter OTP into a website field by copying and then pasting, something the WebOTP API has already addressed in Chrome for Android v84. Watch the following demo:

Coming back to the SMS Receiver Cross Device flag in the latest version of Google Chrome Canary, the description of the flag is somewhat vague and we need some more technical clarity to better understand the actual functionality of this experimental feature.

It looks like Chrome is working to enable new functionality to let users retrieve SMS messages across all of their devices including desktop in the near future.

Well, the feature is not working as of now in Chrome Canary for desktop.

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