GOOGLE HAS DROPPED heavy hints that it's bringing Google Assistant to its Chromebook range, and soon.
The AI assistant, which forms the basis of the "OK Google" command in Android smartphones and powers the Google Home device. has so far been missing from Chrome OS.
Several news outlets have spotted passing references to Google Assistant for Chromebooks, leading to speculation that there could be more than just new hardware announced at the Google event this Wednesday (4 October).
It is widely expected that we'll be seeing a new ‘Pixelbook' to rival the likes of the MacBook Air and Surface Book, and so it would be a logical time to bring Google Assistant to Chrome for the first time.
Of course, we're not entirely sure about the Pixelbook. Is it a Chromebook? Is it an Android tablet? Is it a combination? Or is it just a friendly McGuffin that has nothing to do with the launch on Wednesday?
Whatever it turns out to be, there are clues in the Chrome source code that suggest that something Google Assistant is coming - maybe just to the Pixelbook, maybe to Chromebooks, maybe to the whole goddam Chrome ecosystem - and wouldn't that be a shocker?
The big clue seems to be hidden in the code of the Google Home app itself. There are icons to show if a particular app or service is compatible with TVs, Phones etc, and a new one has appeared - Chromebooks.
Now that suggests that it won't be just the Pixelbook. But we won't know for sure until Wednesday evening - and we'll be there providing coverage from the event.
With Google lagging behind Amazon in the AI home assistant market (it's estimated the figures are something like 70:20 in Amazon's favour, with 10 per cent for the others) the addition of Chromebooks as interfaces for Google Assistant will go some way to bringing a more even playing field.
That said, it hasn't worked that way for Cortana, as yet, which still holds a tiny part of the market, though neither Microsoft nor Apple have yet released a home hub device. µ
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