Google Now is probably one of my favorite things about Android, which is why it’s great news that a new Chromium build includes a notification center, which, combined with a code change last month that indicated Google Now cards were on their way to Chrome, too, suggests the feature will make the leap from mobile soon.
The code change was spotted by François Beaufort, a developer from France (via TNW) who also spotted the initial change that showed Google Now cards might be on their way to Chrome. To get them active, you need to be willing to run Chromium, which is the open source project from which the final code of shipping versions of Chrome comes, and get your hands dirty with chrome://flags to toggle the “Enable Rich Notifications” option. Most users will probably just want to wait around for it to hit the public release versions, especially since there’s not likely to be much coming through and displaying things in the notification center as of yet.
Notifications aren’t just useful for Google Now. The new center should improve dramatically the current state of Chrome’s notifications, by giving all fo them a central place to live together, much like they do in Notification Center on iOS. That should make it easier for people to quickly get back up to speed with what’s going on in their browser in a central location when they get back after stepping away for a minute, which will be particularly handy for Chromebook owners.
Of course, not everything that pops up in Chromium necessarily has to make it to the stable Chrome release version, but this would go a long way to helping Google build out and expand its Google Now program, by gathering more data from users beyond just those on its mobile platform. It could also act as a conversion opportunity, introducing desktop users to Google Now and driving them to want to use it on mobile, too. Which is all to say, it’s likely this is a feature we’ll eventually see in Chrome proper.