Now on Tap: How It Works & Why You Should Use It on Android

How It Works & Why You Should Use It on Android

You'll have to forgive me if I sound a little overexcited about this, but in my opinion, Google's "Now on Tap" is one of the most innovative smartphone features that I've seen in years. Sure, Microsoft heard about the feature being in the works and rushed out a similar Android app so they could say they were first, but that solution pales in comparison to this one.

If you don't already know what I'm talking about here, the feature in Android 6.0 Marshmallow called Now on Tap will absolutely blow your mind. With the press of a button, you'll get detailed information about any person, place, or thing on any screen. Or you can simply say "OK Google," then ask a question about anything on your screen. Think about that for a second—it's like having Google built into every app on your smartphone.

How 'Now on Tap' Works

The main functionality behind Now on Tap is incredibly simple and intuitive, but you'll probably have to see it to believe it. Provided you're running Android 6.0 or higher and your Google app is up to date, all you have to do is long-press your device's home button to trigger the feature. From here, you'll be asked if you'd like to opt into the Now on Tap service, so press "Get Started" to begin.

What happens next is nothing short of amazing. Google will scan your screen for keywords, then draw from its massive Knowledge Graph database to provide quick, at-a-glance information about what it finds on your screen. From here, you can swipe up to view information about other keywords it found, or you can tap the card to perform a full Google search. Towards the bottom of any card, you'll find quick links to open any relevant pages in popular services like Twitter and YouTube.

As you can see in the screenshots above, the service has a very polished interface, and it already picks up on many different keywords. These can range from famous people to locations, or even organizations, so it's perfect for learning more about a subject or getting quick directions to a place—all without ever leaving the app you're currently using.

Contextual Voice Search

A second major element of Now on Tap is its contextually-aware voice search functions. Provided you've enabled "OK Google" on any screen, it's a great way to interact with your phone without pressing any buttons.

To try it out, just say "OK Google," then ask a question about something on your screen. You don't even have to specify what you're talking about, since the service keys in on the important stuff. For instance, when a friend asks if you'd like to join them at a restaurant, just say "OK Google, navigate there," and it will automatically pull up directions to the restaurant and enter navigation mode.

This is truly groundbreaking stuff, in my opinion. I think it's a killer feature that no other smartphone OS has the resources to replicate, so hopefully it will draw in some new Android users. What's your opinion? Would you switch from your current smartphone to get this feature? Let us know in the comment section below, or drop us a line on Android Hacks' Facebook or Twitter, or Gadget Hacks' Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

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