Google Assistant on its way to Chrome
Chrome OS Channels
Google has long had multiple versions, or channels, of their Chrome browser. Each channel varies in how frequently the browser is updated, some update several times a day, others not so often. The browser you and I are probably most used to is known as the Stable channel, it is the most commonly used version. The Beta channel will let you see upcoming changes and improvements with low risk, updates arriving more than a month before the Stable channel. The Developer channel of Chrome, known as Chrome Dev, is updated weekly and is used by Google to let people see what’s new as soon as possible. The Canary build is described by Google as “the bleeding edge. Released daily, this build has not been tested or used, it’s released as soon as it’s built.”
Chrome OS Dev Update Explained
Since 2017, we have been getting hints of Google Assistant’s arrival to the Chrome OS. The Developer channel of Chrome OS was recently updated to version 72, and with it comes some functionality of Google Assistant. Google Assistant was initially spotted on the Canary build in October. Up until these updates, Google Assistant in Chrome has been limited to Google’s Pixelbook and upcoming Pixel Slate Tablet. The functionality is still hidden behind a flag on the Dev channel, but enabling it gives users all the functionality found on the Pixelbook. To activate, use the OK, Google feature or press Search+A. Users can talk to Assistant, access the settings menu, personal info, as well as connect to services like Google Play Music.
If you want to use the Dev channel, you should back up your data and make sure you have a restore image available. The Developer channel is known to be buggy and has even broken devices.
Google Assistant’s Arrival to Chrome Could be Huge – If Google Fixes It
So while there is no word yet on when access to Google Assistant on the Stable channel of Chrome will be available, we can confirm it is coming. Although long overdue, this is a very impressive move for Google to make, as Chrome is the most popular web browser to date, accounting for well over half of web traffic. Here are W3Counter’s browser stats for October 2018:
Google Assistant integration was one of the headlining features of the Pixelbook, however, failed to live up to the hype. Many outlets said it was not as helpful as it could have been. Digital Trends reported it was unreliable and confusing. Working well with familiar tasks, but acting “mysteriously” otherwise. Overall, it has been thought to need work and to make the Chrome OS harder to use. Will Google Assistant perform any better on the Chrome browser? We will have to wait and see.