Google Now arrives in beta form for Chrome on the desktop

Having made its mark on Android and iOS, the Google Now smart digital assistant is heading to the desktop. The latest build of Google Chrome Canary, the beta version of the browser, includes an option to activate Google Now as a set of notification tabs that pop up on your display.

The unofficial Google Operating System blog has details of the new feature: open “chrome://flags/#enable-google-now” in the browser and change the relevant setting from Default to Enabled. Restart the program, and as long as you’re signed into Chrome you can start enjoying the Google Now goodness. The feature is available in the latest build of Chrome Canary for both Windows and Mac.

Cards are shown using Chrome’s existing notification interface from the Windows system tray or the Mac menu bar. Google already has a help page set up for Chrome on the desktop: “If you use Google Now on your mobile device, you can see certain Now cards on your desktop computer if you’re signed into Chrome, including weather, sports scores, commute traffic, and event reminders cards. Some of these cards may be based on the location of your mobile device,” says the page.

Location-sensitive cards work based on the location of your mobile devices and not your computer, for the time being, and you’ll have to opt in to the service on a phone or tablet first. Google has also quietly killed off its desktop notifier app, advising users to turn on the notification features built into the Chrome browser instead.

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