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Latest Chrome Canary build brings Google Now to the desktop

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 13.25.19

There have been indications for a long time that Google Now was eventually coming to the Chrome browser on the desktop. Via the Google Operating System Blog, the service has finally surfaced in the most recent release of Chrome Canary (Google’s name for the app’s ‘alpha’ channel builds).

As expected, Google Now in Chrome closely mirrors Google Now on Android. The contextually-relevant cards (which show information such as weather, news or upcoming flights) appear in Chrome’s Notification Center on the desktop. This area be found in the Window’s taskbar or the Mac’s menubar, represented by a bell icon.

Google says that only a subset of cards found on Android are currently supported in Google Now for Chrome. Where appropriate, Google will use the location of your phone or tablet (which will offer a much more accurate location profile than a laptop or desktop, thanks to the proliferation of GPS) to help select Now cards to display.

Changes introduced into Chrome Canary tend to appear in the stable channel a few weeks later, so desktop Now should be available for all users soon. Still, if you want to try it out today, Chrome Canary is available to download for free. The feature is hidden by default: enabling now requires toggling a setting in the chrome://flags pages. Going to chrome://flags/#enable-google-now will take you directly to the appropriate setting in Chrome Canary.

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