We have heard all the rumors about Google Now possibly making it's way out of the Android platform and onto the laptops and desktops that house Google's Chrome OS as well as the PC browser. Now there is some confirmation that it's almost ready to go. A new "flag" has been added to the chromium backend that allows the end users to enable the Google Now type features, something that has been speculated since the new notification center was added a few months ago which gave "Now" like notifications for Chrome events.
The flag, which was first announced by developer Francois Beaufort (of leaked Chromebook Pixel fame) very early this morning, can be activated right now, but that won't do you any good since the Google Now server URL is unknown. From Mr. Beaufort's Google Plus post:
Google Now is behind an eponymous flag in chrome://flags in the last Chromium build (download-chromium.appspot.com).
Sadly, we still can't play with it yet because the Google Now server URL still remains secret.
If you know it though, all you have to do is set
localStorage['server_url'] = 'http://example.com'; in the background page.
For those of you unaware of Google Now's capabilities because you are still running an older version of Android, it's a personal assistant type app which although billed as Google's answer to Siri on the IOS platform, offers much more in terms of functionality. Google Now actually learns from your behavior and caters it's notification cards to suit your needs with relevant data, even before you think to search for the particular information. Current cards include:
- Next Appointment
- Public Transit
- Public Alerts
- News Updates
- Photo Spots Nearby
- Research Topics
- Activity Summary
- Real Estate
We know that there are many more cards to be activated in the future and have heard that Google didn't make them all go live at once so as not to overwhelm users with information.
This is awesome news for Chrome users everywhere. Between this revelation and the recent buzz around the unified messaging system, the future is looking very bright for the browser based OS as we head towards Google I/O. Maybe we all can't afford the premium Chromebook Pixel, but they do have a pair of sub $300 Chromebooks available as well as the free to download Chrome browser, which will allow for everyone to get a taste of these new features.