Google Now

Google’s ultimate assistant, Google Now, is coming to a Chromebook near you. Chrome OS will soon receive an update that will bring a myriad of new features to the device; the most exciting of which is Google Now. The update will be released sometime next week and will be in the beta phase for testing and refinement prior to a full consumer launch.

Google Now is Google’s answer to Siri, except more intelligent. The Google Now service pays attention to your daily needs/requests and provides you with relevant information organized in cards in the moment you need it most. For example, if you access your Google Maps to check the best traffic route for your commute each day, Google Now will add a card that shows the best route each day at the time you get off work. Searching for activities in the area every Friday? Google Now will add a card each Friday evening to let you know about nearby events. The service simplifies your life through the power of observance.

Google Now will be a part of a major update to Chromebook’s Launcher. Launcher 2.0 will come with a few other new features in addition to Google Now. According to Google’s Product Forum:

The new launcher is the best way to start new activities on Chrome OS, like performing a Google search or launching apps.  It’s fast, simple, and helps you get things done. We’ve enhanced search to help you find what you are looking for faster, put the apps you most often use right at your fingertips, and brought the power of Google Now to your Chromebook.  Rolling out to Beta within the week.

The thought of this type of intelligence coming to a personal computer is exciting; especially for the habitual like myself. I enjoy reading the latest tech headlines prior to my slumber each evening. Suggesting relevant news articles without having to navigate to the web would be a welcome feature. Additionally, the morning typically starts with opening of the same apps/programs every day, by recommending my usual apps within the Launcher app, my day is simplified.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “you can do all of those things by manually pinning apps to the launcher, or bookmarking your favorite news sites.” The fact of the matter is, with Google Now, I won’t have to. That’s the point, it simplifies your life in ways that you sometimes don’t think need simplification. 

As the Chrome OS continues to evolve, Chromebook will become an increasingly enticing PC and Mac alternative for consumers not in need of a powerhouse PC. Chromebooks are designed to be mobile and accessible. The devices boot up in seconds and rely upon the power of the cloud to save your data. The cloud frees you from being tethered to your computer with the ability to access your data on nearly any device. 

Because the device leverages the cloud, it doesn’t require large SSDs to operate which drastically reduces the cost of such devices. You can get a Chromebook for as low as $199 dollars. 

If you have a Chromebook and are interesting in trying out the Launcher 2.0 beta with Google Now, you can follow instructions here. 

What are your thoughts on Google Now on Chromebooks? Do PCs need a personal assistant to be more productive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.