Google Now quietly arrives in Chromium (but refuses to work)

Signs that Google Now, the search giant's context and prediction engine currently featured on Android phones, is coming to the desktop have been spotted, with a new Chromium feature teasing the functionality though not currently functional. Evidence of Google Now in the open-source browser was spotted by Fran├žois Beaufort; however, without the correct server address, it can't actually be used. Still, it indicates that Google is readying to expand Google Now's footprint from mobile to the desktop.

At the moment, the latest Chromium build has an entry for enabling Google Now testing. However, it requires manual input of the relevant server address, since Google Now does most of its processing in the cloud; without that URL, none of the Now cards will be generated.

Exactly when Google will make Now functionality public is unclear, but the fact that it's in testing suggests it could be sooner rather than later. That would certainly fit in with the ambitions of Android user experience chief Matias Duarte, who we talked to about Google Now back at Mobile World Congress; he sees the system as the next gateway to smart devices, leveraging context as part of a new, more confident Google that allows prediction to take a stronger role.

Google Now is already likely to feature strongly in Glass, Google's head-mounted wearable computer, which uses the system to respond to voice commands. As we exclusively previewed last month, the pared-back Glass interface is very close to what we've seen of Now already.

[via The Verge; via Francois Beaufort]