google now cards in Chrome OS
Google Now Cards in Chrome OS

Last week saw the arrival of Google’s Aura shell in the Chrome for Linux Dev Channel. Alongside it came a host of neat new features, including a Chrome App Launcher and Notification Centre.

The hardware-accelerated Aura shell uses cross-platform code to make it easier for Chrome developers to bring new features to all versions of Chrome at the same time.

One of the most anticipated of those features is Google Now on the desktop. 

Windows and Mac users of the browser’s Beta builds are already able to see the contextually-surfaced info cards in the Chrome Notification Centre. But what about Linux?

Google Now is supported on the Linux desktop. But as Aura is yet to filter down to the beta channel the feature is currently only available in Dev Channel builds.

How to Enable Google Now on Linux

‘To use Google Now on the desktop you must also use it on an Android or iOS device.’

Whatever desktop OS you’re using there’s one ‘requirement’ that cannot be avoided for now: to use Google Now on the desktop you must also have it set-up on a supported Android or iOS device.

Assuming that you do, and have it correctly set-up and logged in to the same account you use in Chrome, you’re good to go. You should start receiving Now cards in the Chrome Notification Centre on the desktop over the coming days.


No notification icon? You’ll only see the Notification Centre icon when there are messages waiting to be read.

Not seeing any Cards? You may have opted out of recurring cards, like weather forecasts, stock updates and sports results, during set-up on your phone. A quick prod through Google Now settings on your device should let you set them up again.

Want to disable the feature? Click the notification centre bell when it appears in the task bar, choose to view notifications, click the gear icon to the right-hand side and then uncheck the box beside Google Now in the list of sites and services that appears.

Finding it buggy? Patience, Padawan.  As with any feature not yet on Stable you have to allow for bugs, quirks and missing features. For example, there’s currently no sync support. Swiping a card away from your phone won’t remove it from the notification centre or vice versa.

Seeing the wrong location? All location-based cards shown – e.g., traffic reports and weather – use the last location reported by your phone and not from any sort of geolocation magic occurring on the desktop. If you’re getting weather forecasts for 40 miles down the road you’ll need to edit the locations stored by Google on your device.

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