Commits show Google Assistant is on its way to Chrome OS
Earlier this week there was a commit discovered in the Chromium Gerrit page (by ChromeUnboxed) that said the OK Google hotword was being deprecated from Chrome OS. Some have speculated that it just isn’t that popular on a Chromebook so Google has decided to work on removing it. This could be because the feature was buried in the settings of Chrome OS, or it could simply be from it being easier to just launch a Chrome tab and then search for what you’re looking for.
Whatever the case may be, this change lined up with previous rumors about Google Assistant being made available on Chromebooks. However, that commit on Chromium Gerrit made it seem like Google Assistant wouldn’t have a hotword associated with it. If true, this is likely because Google wants to move toward a dedicated button on Chromebooks for Google Assistant. That APK teardown didn’t specifically mention Google Assistant, but just vaguely talked about an assistant button in general.
Yesterday though, a new commit to the Chromium Gerrit page specifically talks about Google Assistant inside of Chrome OS. The description of the commit directly says “add Google Assistant settings to the settings UI.” And then continues and says that right now it doesn’t “launch an Intent when the “Google Assistant Settings” button is tapped.” Instead, that will be handled sometime in the future when they’re ready to complete this feature. Several other new files have popped up in the repository, such as google_assistant_handler.cc and google_assistant_page.html which show there has been a lot of progress made on getting Google Assistant working on Chrome OS.
There’s no telling how much longer it will take, but the folks at Google are still working on it so we could see an announcement anytime now. It’s possible that the company could handle this feature the same way they have done with Android application support. We could see this only being made available on select devices at first with a broader rollout happening later. However, it’s clear that Google is at least continuing work on integrating their virtual assistant to the platform.