It’s been a long time coming but Google Now is finally making its way to Chrome on the desktop. This morning, I set a reminder in Google Now on my iPhone and a few minutes later Chrome prodded me with a notification. Don’t get super excited though: To make this happen, I had to install the Canary version of Chrome, which is a very experimental channel of Chrome.
I hit up Canary to test Google Now out because I saw a Google+ post from Mike McLoughlin early on Thursday morning pointing out the new feature. A quick trip to the Google Chrome Canary site and one install later, I had Google Now on my desktop.
There was one small step to enable the function. In my Chrome Canary address bar, I had to type chrome://flags/#enable-google-now because the feature is off by default. I tested it on a Mac but it should also work with Windows machines.
Google is clearly prepping — or has prepped — for Google Now on Chrome because it already has a support page explaining how to use the feature. There it says that some Google Now cards you can see on your mobile device will be shown on the desktop and that these will appear even if Chrome isn’t running. You can turn that feature off, however.
Again, we knew this was coming but I’m happy it’s here; at least in the very experimental Chrome Canary channel. The contextual notifications based on time, location, weather and my calendar appointments make Google Now a useful tool. Adding in Google Now is just another piece of the puzzle for Google’s Chrome strategy, which is to boost engagement for its own products and services; even on devices that don’t run Chrome OS.