New Chrome OS Commit Suggests Google Assistant Coming to Everyone

There is little doubt that Google is on a mission to add Google Assistant to all the things.  That, now apparently, includes your Chromebook.  A new merged commit in the Chromium Gerrit suggest that Google Assistant flags will be coming to Chrome OS.  This means that any device on the platform, assuming it meets performance specs, could potentially have Assistant a tap away.

Right now Google Assistant on Chrome OS is exclusive to the Google Pixelbook.  For that device, a specific build, which enables Google Assistant, is provided each time there is a build update on the platform.  But, according to this commit, a flag option could be made available to enable it on any device.

The commit suggests that once enabled by the end user, the device would be in listen mode for the hot word, “OK Google” or “Hey Google”.  There is also an allowance within the code that suggests that manufactures could create a dedicated button, just like on the Pixelbook, to access Assistant.  This could also include the remapping of a key on current devices to allow for Assistant to be accessed.

The question is when would this roll out?  Given that Chrome 64 is already out and a follow up build is now in beta, it is unlikely to be this month.  Further, there is no indication that this new commit has made it into Chrome 65, which is currently in the Dev Channel.  That would suggest then that it will be at least Chrome 66, sometime in the May or June timeframe – assuming it makes it in at all.  As I’ve said in previous posts, you have to be a little careful reading too much into commits.  Just because its in the code doesn’t mean that it will be enabled. 🙂