Google Now, which is currently only available to Android Jelly Bean users, may just be headed to the Chrome browser.
According to a recent code revision to the Chromium project, Google’s Chrome team has added a “skeleton for Google Now for Chrome” as reported by CNET.
The following log message adds some truth to the speculation.
“Creating a skeleton for Google Now for Chrome implementation.
The CL creates the top-level structure for showing Google Now cards in Chrome via Chrome Notifications. The implementation lives behind -enable-google-now-integration flag.”
Chrome Notifications are already present in the Chrome browser, so according to the log above, Google Now cards will now be shown via Notifications. Cards, which are synonymous with Google Now, are pulled up based on your search habits and location. They can also look up your calendar and inform you of your upcoming appointments before you even ask for it. If you are travelling, it can look up traffic information and pull up the traffic card. As of now there are 27 cards which come with Google Now. The cards get more intelligent as you use Google. Recently, Google had announced some traveller-friendly features for Google Now.
Chrome browser is available on multiple platforms: on desktop - Windows, Mac OS X, Linux as well as mobile - Android and iOS. By adding Google Now to the Chrome browser, it will be available on many more devices and not just be restricted to Jelly Bean handsets and tablets. This may turn out to be a smart move for Google as it will familiarise more people with Google Now and may just help in selling more Android devices.
Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, which in a way competes with Google Now is currently available only on all Apple devices sporting the iOS5 and iOS6 operating systems. Knowing Apple, there are slim chances of Siri going cross-platform. In such a scenario, if Google Now does go ahead with the Chrome implementation, it will be most advantageous to Google.
One aspect of Google Now which will take a beating will be its ability to generate cards based on locations using GPS data. Sure, if you are using a laptop, locational data can be pulled up via cards, but for a stationary desktop, Google Now would just be like glorified Chrome notifications.
Another aspect that Google will need to take care of is privacy. Google Now gets more intelligent as you use Google products. It scans your calendar to notify you about pending appointments, may scan your mail to tell you about your upcoming flight or travel itinerary and so on. This may not go down well with all the users. Google will have to make it simpler for users who may want to opt out of some or all features of Google Now.