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Google is now enabling cards from its Google Now intelligent personal assistant to show up in its Chrome browser. This move of Google Now to the desktop represents another way in which the technology giant is employing the browser to provide cross-platform functionality.
Users of the Chrome beta can see Google Now cards in the notifications center, whether you’re on a Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS device. The notices, which provide relevant updates about your flights, area weather, reservations, scores for your favorite sports teams, or the like, are automatically displayed for Android or iOS users who have Google Now and who have signed into the Chrome browser with the same logon.
You can view these Notifications by clicking on the bell icon on Mac and Windows machines or on the numbered box on Chromebook. In mid-January, Google made its Now notification service available to developers.
Google Now, like Apple’s Siri, is a star in the virtual assistant category, gathering its knowledge from your calendar, email, and other sources. Launched for Android devices in 2012, Google ported it to the iPhone last spring. A typical use case, per Google: When you’re working in late afternoon, “Google Now might suggest that you leave the office a bit early to beat the heavy traffic on the way to your dinner date.”
Aside from expanding the reach of Google Now, this new availability demonstrates yet another way in which the technology giant is using the Chrome browser to reach beyond the company’s base in Android.
Last week, Google announced a developer preview of a tool for adapting Chrome Apps to iOS- and Android-based mobile devices. Although the name includes that of the browser, these packaged apps –originally launched for desktops last fall — can run offline and outside the browser.
In the summer, the tech giant introduced “rich notifications” for the Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS, providing enhanced out-of-the-browser-window pop-ups that Google described as “beautiful, useful and engaging” — and that are approaching the level of being mini-apps.
Ross Rubin, the principal analyst with industry research firm Reticle Research, told VentureBeat that Android and Chrome have been crossing paths “since they came under the same management structure,” when senior vice president Sundar Pinchai took over their development.
“The Chrome browser,” Rubin said, “is being used by Google as a way to bring operating system functionality to other operating systems, but without the operating system.”