Chromium code suggests Google Now coming to the PC


— 10:34 AM on March 12, 2013

Google Now is one of the best features of recent versions of Android. This customizable information aggregator fills itself with useful information on everything from the weather to sports scores to package shipments. It can mine your calendar and Gmail account for tips on what to include, and Google is constantly adding to the kinds of information that can be displayed. Soon, it seems you'll be able to enjoy this feature on the desktop via the Chrome browser.

TechCrunch reports that the latest Chromium browser build contains references to Google Now. You can't do anything with it yet—Google Now needs to be fed by a server, whose address apparently remains a secret—but the option exists to enable or disable the feature. Chrome recently gained notification support, so the only thing it's missing for a full Google Now implementation is voice-based search. That feature is already available for Chrome as a separate add-on.

The ability to easily dictate searches is a huge plus for mobile devices with compromised inputs, but it may not be necessary on Windows machines typically attached to full-sized keyboards. That said, alternative input mechanisms like voice and gesture controls are likely to become more prominent on the PC. I wouldn't be surprised to see Google's voice recognition more tightly integrated into Chrome, especially since the offline version downloaded to my phone weighs in at a mere 22MB.

Admittedly, much of Google Now's functionality is tailored to deliver location-specific information on mobile devices. The current mix of information "cards" has less to offer desktop and notebook users, although Google may be prepping new additions better suited to more stationary systems. Google Now's real allure is its ability to predict the information you'll need before you ask for it, a premise that definitely has promise on the PC.

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