It has been just shy of two years since we discovered the addition of the Assistant Key to what would become Google’s Pixelbook. One year after the Pixelbook’s release, Chrome Story uncovered work being done to bring a “native” Google Assistant to all Chromebooks and it now appears that work is coming to fruition.
In a change currently slated for Chrome OS 77, the Google Assistant will be “enabled by default” on all Chrome devices. This change should, if things go well, bring the smart Assistant to all Chromebooks without the need for Android support as the “native” Assistant is now built upon backend web services and code baked into Chrome OS.
The Assistant is already living in the shadows on most Chrome devices. Living behind a series of flags, it can be enabled manually but there is not guaranteed it will work on your device. I have had the Assistant switched on for my Acer Chromebook Spin 13 (which is always in the Canary channel) for quite some time and it appears to work without flaw. For that reason, I would say Google is very close to flipping this switch.
If you’ve been looking forward to this feature but aren’t keen on messing with flags and such, you will only have to wait a few more months. If Kyle Bradshaw is correct and the Assistant lands in Chrome OS 77, mid-September will be the triumphant arrival of Stable 77. With it, we should see a lot more Chromebooks with Assistant capability.
On the flip side of that, if Google is confident that the Assistant is ready for prime time, we could see this pushed up the ladder sooner that Chrome OS 77. At this point, I wouldn’t place any bets on that just yet.