Code Points to Google Now on Desktop Homepage
Evidence that Google Now may be coming to the company's home page has appeared within the website itself in the form of small code snippets. One of the pages in testing urges the user to "get started with Google Now" because it "provides just the right information at just the right time".
According to the unofficial Google Operating System blog, Google Now will reportedly offer users the opportunity to change the home or network location because "Google Now uses your Home location to show relevant information like weather, traffic conditions, and nearby places." There are also a number of references to "now_card" throughout the test page.
Google Now is the company's answer to Apple's Siri, an intelligent personal assistant that first appeared on Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" and the Galaxy Nexus. It's an extension of Android's native Google Search application that uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations and more. It also passively offers information that the user may want or need in the form of cards.
Previous code discoveries have pointed to Google Now appearing in the Chrome desktop browser as an extension, and in the company's iOS search app. However bringing Google Now to the actual home page would make the service more universal across any number of devices and platforms. Even more, it could replace some of iGoogle's functionality.
Google said last summer that iGoogle, its customizable home page, would be discontinued on November 1, 2013. It was launched in 2005 to compete directly with Yahoo, allowing users to install a number of widgets for searching Wikipedia, keeping up with Google Calendar, keeping tabs on the weather, make notes and more.
"We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today's web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips," the company said. "With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time, so we’ll be winding down iGoogle."
Last week during Google's first quarter 2013 earnings call, CEO Larry Page was rather excited about Google Now and the company's overall Search momentum, indicating that the service was only just getting started. It's definitely improved since the initial launch in 2012, receiving Gmail "card" support in October, a search by camera function in December and more. Imagine the information Google Now can pull from the desktop.
"Looking for the nearest pharmacy? Just ask Google for directions, and we will deliver them instantly. No typing needed. You can now have conversational questions, like 'do I need a jacket this weekend?' Voice commands are going to be increasingly important. It's much less hassle to talk than type," he said.