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[APP][2.2+] Message Beam

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d-fader

Senior Member
Sep 14, 2008
117
210
41
Broek op Langedijk
THIS PROJECT IS IN DEVELOPMENT AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE IT WILL WORK - CURRENT VERSION 0.3ß - RELEASED FEBRUARY 6th, 2014 - SEE BELOW FOR CHANGELOG AND DIRECT APK LINK

I would like to share an app I actually wanted to make make myself, but it seems that it actually might be something worth releasing. The app is called Message Beam and with it you can send text from your desktop to your phone *and vice versa*. At the moment it is only available as a Chrome Extension (apart from the Andoid app), but when completely finished it will have at least have a Chrome Extension, a web site and a stand alone executable (probably .NET).

Key features
* Send selected text, URL's or custom messages from Chrome to your Android device
* Messages will be copied to the device its clipboard, URL's will be opened when you click on the notification
* Send messages from your Android device to Chrome
* You can link multiple devices (so you can link your tablet too ;))
* Encrypt messages to improve your privacy (keys only stored at device and/or endpoint, meaning they will never be sent over the internet).

Why it was made
Up until now I used the Chrome to Phone extension, but it lacks the possibility to send custom text or a text selection. Also, it often takes a lot of time before the message is actually delivered and sending a message from the device to Chrome is impossible, as well as linking more than one device. Message Beam tries solves all these shortcomings.

Screenshots:
Screenshot_1.png
Screenshot_2.png

Screenshot_3.png
Screenshot_4.png

Screenshot_5.png


How does it work?
The underlying technique used is an XMPP server. Messages sent from and to devices will only be stored until they are delivered and are (*OF COURSE*) not read, used for analysis or used for any other form of privacy violation. Linking devices is as easy as creating a special code of at least 4 characters and entering it in the Chrome Extension, setup can be done within a minute.

Why release it as some sort of development build?
I made this project for myself and have done no research whatsoever in what others might want from this app, so releasing it on this forum means I can hopefully get some feedback that will help add features and make the app perfect!

What will the future bring?
The functionality provided is the bare minimum of what I had in mind. The future will probably bring at least the following things:
* Encryption (with keys only available on your device and endpoint (e.g. Chrome Extension), meaning it's impossible for the Message Beam server to decrypt messages Done in version 0.2ß
* Files (Images, Office documents, etc., etc.). Preparations for this have already been made.
* More endpoint types (Executable, Website, Firefox extension -> see below, Java client, etc.)

Is it free and will it stay free?
Yes and Probably. When there are not too many users, I can host it on my own small VPS and won't have any extra costs. However, if there are too much users, I will need to add one or more VPS'es and then some features might only be available in a paid version, but the intention is to keep it free.

Closing words
As said, this project is still heavily in development and released just because I want to check if it's something worth releasing in public eventually :) I hope you like it and thanks for reading!

Change log
0.4ß (february 15, 2014)
CHROME EXTENSION
- Added possibility to receive messgages that were sent while the connection was unavailable. This feature will be enabled (server side on feb. 22, 2014).

FIREFOX EXTENSION
- Added possibility to receive messgages that were sent while the connection was unavailable. This feature will be enabled (server side on feb. 22, 2014).

ANDROID APP
- Pre Honeycomb (< 3.0): Added a setting to enable a permanent notification. If enabled you can send the current content of the clipboard by clicking it.

- Honeycomb and higher (3.0+): Added a setting to enable a notification when the clipboard content changes. When clicked, it will send the current clipboard content to the endpoints.


0.3ß (january 25, 2014)

IF YOUR CHROME EXTENSION IS UPDATED TO VERSION 0.3ß YOU NEED TO UPDATE THE ANDROID APK TOO!

CHROME EXTENSION
- Changed chat setup, a room will be created now (in stead of separate chat instances), this will greatly increase the message delivery time
- Fixed decryption bug (when encrypted data had more lines)
- You can send a message with CTRL+ENTER now
- When pasting text in the message text-area, the send button will be enabled now
- When connected, you can now see the availability of the Android device
- Small visual improvements

ANDROID APP
- Added connection status (when not connected and authenticated, you see what the app is doing to restore connection)
- Added first 'share' target (for plain text, meaning plain text can now be shared, which will be sent directly to the end points)
- Messages which cannot be sent (due to connection issues), will be sent whenever an internet connection becomes available.
- App will now automatically reconnect directly when an internet connection will become available (in stead of waiting for a certain amount of time)
- App now works on 2.2+ (previously it crashed)


0.2ß (january 19, 2014)
- Added encryption. You need to update both the Chrome Extension and the APK to make it work :)

0.1ß (january 16, 2014)
- Initial release

Link
Chrome Extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/message-beam-for-android/mlndbhjjfllliigpnpinfhmiaocogeba
Firefox Extension: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.xpi

Just install the Chrome Extension / Firefox Addon and the it will guide you, including the installation of the APK. The Android app is not yet available in the Play Store.

You can update the APK with this QR:
mbqr.png



Direct links
Chrome extension (zip, source): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.zip
Firefox extension (xpi): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.xpi
APK: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.apk

Older versions

0.3ß
Chrome extension (zip): http://goo.gl/BD1pge
Firefox extension (xpi): http://goo.gl/2AnEA3
APK: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/MessageBeam.apk


0.2ß - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/MessageBeam_0_2.apk
 
Last edited:

wibber1981

Member
Jan 5, 2013
6
0
Finally...

Finally! A quick and easy way to have bi-directional clipboard functionality between my desktop/laptop and my mobile devices. Also very easy to install and everything works right out of the box. This is the way to go!

Can't wait until more features like sending images, audio and/or videos files. Keep up the good work!
 

d-fader

Senior Member
Sep 14, 2008
117
210
41
Broek op Langedijk
The extension and app have now been updated and encryption was added. The keys used will be saved in the extension and the app using an AES encryption algorithm. The messages will also be sent with AES (different salt and IV's though). The passphrase is only stored on the device and endpoint, it will only be used to encrypt and decrypt the messages and will NEVER be sent over the internet.. This feature was added to improve privacy.
 

trurl3

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2011
985
236
Warszawa
This is really amazing... works like charm in both ways! Put it to Google Play asap! (easy updates)
 

stegg

Senior Member
Aug 29, 2008
496
54
Milan
works like a charm.
VAST compliments for the ease of setting and using! you should sell this app to google to be merged with android code. or maybe google should hire you, seriously
 

onyxogen

Senior Member
Aug 15, 2010
178
20
This is really great. There's one thing though I'd like to have since years. Do you know the app aosp wifi keyboard? Basically it's an IME that gets its input from another client (Web page). As you have implemented encryption i wonder if it's possible to do the same thing via Internet connection. This means that the chrome extension needs to send every character on text change and a special ime needs to receive the character.
Maybe there are other solutions that I'm not aware of? If not, do you consider to add this to the wish list?
 

Andrija231

Senior Member
Feb 26, 2012
195
46
:)

Very nice, and it's working very well. You should consider adding posibillity to integrate message beam to androids share feature.
 

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  • 46
    THIS PROJECT IS IN DEVELOPMENT AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE IT WILL WORK - CURRENT VERSION 0.3ß - RELEASED FEBRUARY 6th, 2014 - SEE BELOW FOR CHANGELOG AND DIRECT APK LINK

    I would like to share an app I actually wanted to make make myself, but it seems that it actually might be something worth releasing. The app is called Message Beam and with it you can send text from your desktop to your phone *and vice versa*. At the moment it is only available as a Chrome Extension (apart from the Andoid app), but when completely finished it will have at least have a Chrome Extension, a web site and a stand alone executable (probably .NET).

    Key features
    * Send selected text, URL's or custom messages from Chrome to your Android device
    * Messages will be copied to the device its clipboard, URL's will be opened when you click on the notification
    * Send messages from your Android device to Chrome
    * You can link multiple devices (so you can link your tablet too ;))
    * Encrypt messages to improve your privacy (keys only stored at device and/or endpoint, meaning they will never be sent over the internet).

    Why it was made
    Up until now I used the Chrome to Phone extension, but it lacks the possibility to send custom text or a text selection. Also, it often takes a lot of time before the message is actually delivered and sending a message from the device to Chrome is impossible, as well as linking more than one device. Message Beam tries solves all these shortcomings.

    Screenshots:
    Screenshot_1.png
    Screenshot_2.png

    Screenshot_3.png
    Screenshot_4.png

    Screenshot_5.png


    How does it work?
    The underlying technique used is an XMPP server. Messages sent from and to devices will only be stored until they are delivered and are (*OF COURSE*) not read, used for analysis or used for any other form of privacy violation. Linking devices is as easy as creating a special code of at least 4 characters and entering it in the Chrome Extension, setup can be done within a minute.

    Why release it as some sort of development build?
    I made this project for myself and have done no research whatsoever in what others might want from this app, so releasing it on this forum means I can hopefully get some feedback that will help add features and make the app perfect!

    What will the future bring?
    The functionality provided is the bare minimum of what I had in mind. The future will probably bring at least the following things:
    * Encryption (with keys only available on your device and endpoint (e.g. Chrome Extension), meaning it's impossible for the Message Beam server to decrypt messages Done in version 0.2ß
    * Files (Images, Office documents, etc., etc.). Preparations for this have already been made.
    * More endpoint types (Executable, Website, Firefox extension -> see below, Java client, etc.)

    Is it free and will it stay free?
    Yes and Probably. When there are not too many users, I can host it on my own small VPS and won't have any extra costs. However, if there are too much users, I will need to add one or more VPS'es and then some features might only be available in a paid version, but the intention is to keep it free.

    Closing words
    As said, this project is still heavily in development and released just because I want to check if it's something worth releasing in public eventually :) I hope you like it and thanks for reading!

    Change log
    0.4ß (february 15, 2014)
    CHROME EXTENSION
    - Added possibility to receive messgages that were sent while the connection was unavailable. This feature will be enabled (server side on feb. 22, 2014).

    FIREFOX EXTENSION
    - Added possibility to receive messgages that were sent while the connection was unavailable. This feature will be enabled (server side on feb. 22, 2014).

    ANDROID APP
    - Pre Honeycomb (< 3.0): Added a setting to enable a permanent notification. If enabled you can send the current content of the clipboard by clicking it.

    - Honeycomb and higher (3.0+): Added a setting to enable a notification when the clipboard content changes. When clicked, it will send the current clipboard content to the endpoints.


    0.3ß (january 25, 2014)

    IF YOUR CHROME EXTENSION IS UPDATED TO VERSION 0.3ß YOU NEED TO UPDATE THE ANDROID APK TOO!

    CHROME EXTENSION
    - Changed chat setup, a room will be created now (in stead of separate chat instances), this will greatly increase the message delivery time
    - Fixed decryption bug (when encrypted data had more lines)
    - You can send a message with CTRL+ENTER now
    - When pasting text in the message text-area, the send button will be enabled now
    - When connected, you can now see the availability of the Android device
    - Small visual improvements

    ANDROID APP
    - Added connection status (when not connected and authenticated, you see what the app is doing to restore connection)
    - Added first 'share' target (for plain text, meaning plain text can now be shared, which will be sent directly to the end points)
    - Messages which cannot be sent (due to connection issues), will be sent whenever an internet connection becomes available.
    - App will now automatically reconnect directly when an internet connection will become available (in stead of waiting for a certain amount of time)
    - App now works on 2.2+ (previously it crashed)


    0.2ß (january 19, 2014)
    - Added encryption. You need to update both the Chrome Extension and the APK to make it work :)

    0.1ß (january 16, 2014)
    - Initial release

    Link
    Chrome Extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/message-beam-for-android/mlndbhjjfllliigpnpinfhmiaocogeba
    Firefox Extension: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.xpi

    Just install the Chrome Extension / Firefox Addon and the it will guide you, including the installation of the APK. The Android app is not yet available in the Play Store.

    You can update the APK with this QR:
    mbqr.png



    Direct links
    Chrome extension (zip, source): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.zip
    Firefox extension (xpi): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.xpi
    APK: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/0.0.4/MessageBeam_0_0_4.apk

    Older versions

    0.3ß
    Chrome extension (zip): http://goo.gl/BD1pge
    Firefox extension (xpi): http://goo.gl/2AnEA3
    APK: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/MessageBeam.apk


    0.2ß - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11837707/messagebeam/release/MessageBeam_0_2.apk
    3
    A little update.

    First of all, I'm having big issues with the XMPP/apache/mysql combination in combination with all the users. There are roughly 750 active sessions and the server is REALLY REALLY slow. My guess is that it has something to do with my configuration (the server is a blade server with 2 cpu's and 4GiB memory, so it should easily be able to handle those numbers if you ask me). I've disabled the messagebeam.tagpulse.nl domain, so unfortunately you can't use the app anymore (for now). I will figure out what is wrong and get it up asap again! Please keep the Chrome extension installed, so when I enable it again, the tests will commence immediately :) Thanks!

    The firefox addon then. It's hard, very hard and it's very different than Chrome, *BUT* I think I'm at about 85% of it (most things work), so please hold on a little while so I can figure everything out and hopefully re-enable the server within a week!

    Thanks for your patience!


    EDIT/BREAKING NEWS: I found the culprit!! The server is online again (and messaging should work again). Besides that, in the Firefox addon I made a full XMPP registration + connection and am able to send messages, so this was a really good day after all :) First Firefox Addon (pre-alpha) release scheduled in about 4 days. Stay tuned!
    3
    First of all, thanks for all the great responses and feedback! I'll try to list all feature requests in this post, including the answer to what I want to do with it :) The app is like pushbullet, I didn't know it existed, so it can be thought of as an alternative.

    This is really great. There's one thing though I'd like to have since years. Do you know the app aosp wifi keyboard? Basically it's an IME that gets its input from another client (Web page). As you have implemented encryption i wonder if it's possible to do the same thing via Internet connection. This means that the chrome extension needs to send every character on text change and a special ime needs to receive the character.
    Maybe there are other solutions that I'm not aware of? If not, do you consider to add this to the wish list?
    Do you mean something like an external keyboard? Like everything you type in the Chrome extension will appear right at the current cursor position on your Android device? If so, then yes, I think it could be made and I will add it to the to-do list!


    Working perfectly on my LG G2, thanks!
    It would be awesome if you could make a firefox add-on!
    I have started tutorials on FF add-on development (I have no exp. yet for those), so yes, it will be available soon!

    Is there any way to upload the Chrome extension itself somewhere?

    Chrome Webstore is blocked at my office...
    Yes, please give me a few days, the code is a mess now, I will refactor and then I will release the extension zip too (here).

    Ye, seems pointless if you can't share things to the app. Most of the time you can't directly access the URL or whatever in an app and have to use the share menu. Someone said Keep can do this already, I actually had Keep installed for ages and didn't think to use it to share from pc to mobile :p
    This is a TOP priority. As said, this app is still heavily in development! So yes, sharing and also letting other apps receive messages will be added to the app soon!

    Thanks again all for the great feedback! It makes me want to really push development forward!

    Cheers!
    2
    The extension and app have now been updated and encryption was added. The keys used will be saved in the extension and the app using an AES encryption algorithm. The messages will also be sent with AES (different salt and IV's though). The passphrase is only stored on the device and endpoint, it will only be used to encrypt and decrypt the messages and will NEVER be sent over the internet.. This feature was added to improve privacy.
    2
    Just a little status update.

    I'm working on connection issues with the XMPP server. If you disconnect and connect often, it might happen that messages will not be sent/delivered. This happens e.g. when you switch between 2G/3G and WIFI. All my tests indicate I have resolved this issue. The client will now also show when it's disconnected or connecting/authenticating. Furthermore, it will react on network status changes (e.g. when internet is enabled, it will reconnect immediately).

    There is also a problem with the encryption in combination with long texts. I think it has something to do with UTF-8 encoding. I am investigating this issue and expect it to be fixed tomorrow.

    I've implemented the first 'share' target. You can now share 'plain text' to message beam, which will be sent to the cloud devices.

    I will have a fresh APK ready tomorrow (hopefully) or at least Friday.

    Thanks for your support :)