Google Now is one of the best things to happen to Android in a while, and now new code discovered in a sample page taken from Google itself suggests it could arrive on the desktop, not just via Chrome but through the Google homepage itself. Code snippets include provisions for letting a user set their home and work location, “Discover Google now” and change their current location, all in support of the Now service.
Those options come up on your Android device now if you’re running version 4.2 or higher, and are used to tweak things like directions, estimated travel times, weather info and more provided to you by your phone. Google Now uses your search history, content found in emails and more to provide you with information it predicts you’ll need, before you even request it. It’s sort of an anticipatory Siri.
Previous discoveries have indicated that Google Now is probably being worked on for Chrome desktop browser integration, and for inclusion in Google’s iOS search app. But bringing it to the Google homepage means it’ll be broadly accessible. It also means Google will have an opportunity to deliver more via its homepage, sort of like an iGoogle, but hopefully better at its job of providing you with relevant, personalized content.
And of course, the benefits of having Now available on the web will add another source from which Google can gather data to improve and iterate upon the services Now offers. Having direct access to desktop search information will make for better recommendations in theory, and provide a more complete picture of who a person is and how they typically spend their days. Google Now is also getting better at tracking online purchases and ecommerce, and since the majority of that activity still takes place in the desktop, this will help with those efforts, too.
Google Now is definitely not Google’s lone answer for the question of what comes after search, but it’s definitely one of them. And since the service has been well-received by the tech press and early adopters so far (general usage stats are harder to track down), it’s more than likely we’ll see it percolate to other platforms, and a general web presence has to be on that list.