Google Now, the search giant’s intelligent personal assistant for mobile devices, will soon be coming to your desktop according to the latest test version of the company’s Chrome browser.
Google Now is being tested in Chrome Canary, the test sandbox that Google uses for new builds, features and functions in forthcoming versions of its browser. (To enable Google Now in Chrome, visit this page and click the radio button for the Now experiment to “Enabled.” Once you do so, a menu item will pop up at the bottom to relaunch your browser.)
You will need to be signed into Chrome for Google Now to work, but the experimental desktop version of Google Now will still be pulling information from your iOS or Android smartphone to inform your location. You can set location settings for Google Now for multiple devices by changing your system preferences within iOS and Android.
Once you are signed in, you can see Now-based notifications from your notifications bar in Windows or the top tool bar on Mac OS X. The little grayed out bell is for Chrome and Google Now notifications.
If you use Google Now on your mobile device, you can see certain Now cards on your desktop computer if you’re signed into Chrome, including weather, sports scores, commute traffic, and event reminders cards. Some of these cards may be based on the location of your mobile device.
Google Now is an important part of Google’s vision for the future of search. One of the reasons Google wants to know so much about you, get you to use Google+, Android smartphones, Chrome, YouTube and Google Play et al. is so it can serve contextually relevant information to you—yes, sometimes this includes advertisements.
Google Now is the company’s attempt to serve you information it knows you probably wanted anyway, such as the weather and sports or interesting news, before you can even search for it. Are you a sports fan living in Boston? Google will send you a Google Now notification to your smartphone—and soon on your desktop—about the score of the game.
When it comes to a variety of its consumer features, Google is an equal opportunity developer. It wants to be on your Windows and your Mac, your iPhone and your Android. Chrome is now one the most popular browsers in the world because Google has spread it to nearly every single operating system, first on mobile, and now on the desktop. Google Now is a very important piece of the feature set that Google wants to spread everywhere.
So, while Google Now for Chrome is officially in experimental mode, there is no reason to think that Now won’t eventually make its way to every piece of computing that touches Google.