Google Now on Android is one of the more genuinely exciting developments for that mobile OS in recent memory, and new evidence today signals it’s on its way to the desktop, too. A new reference to Google Now support for Windows and Chrome OS in the latest Chromium backend specifically allows a user to enable or disable Google Now notification support, which follows earlier indications Google might bring the feature to its desktop Chrome offerings.
The feature addition isn’t yet public, nor is it live when enabled (the Google Now server it has to direct to remains secret), but it’s a clear sign Google is laying the groundwork to bring Google Now to the desktop. For those on older versions of Android or on iOS and other platforms, Google Now is a contextual digital assistant that generates useful content in the form of ‘cards’ on your phone based on your search habits, location, email activity and more. It can provide local weather, for instance, as well as your travel time home when it’s time to end your day, as well as restaurant and sight-seeing locations when you’re on vacation in a strange place.
Many of those activities have a strong mobile focus, but there’s plenty Google Now can offer on the desktop, and Google is adding to it all the time. Essentially, Now feels like a response to Siri in terms of how Google is thinking about what comes next after traditional search. Think of it as the first real attempt Google has made to come up with a true successor to its primary product, and you can see exactly why the company would want to get it on the desktop. Bringing it to Chrome OS is likewise a smart move, since it can inject some fresh energy into that fledgling desktop environment.
So far, Google has only shown this as a feature in Chrome for Windows and Chrome OS, but a Mac version is also likely to follow. The appearance of this clue in Chromium offers no insight into when it’ll make it to the desktop in a usable, stable form, but the ball is now clearly rolling.