At I/O 2015, Google took the wraps off of the latest iteration of its OS, Android M. While the upcoming M release does not feature, or require, the aesthetic overhaul that was Lollipop, what it does bring to the table are a slew of enhancements and upgrades to Google apps and features currently available, with a large focus on ease of use. One great example of this is the further improved Google Search integration in Android, in the form of Google Now on Tap.
The basic idea behind Google Now On Tap is to get access to information when you need it, without having to leave what you’re doing to go into Search. Contextual awareness is the name of the game here, giving you the ability to take advantage of any assistance from Google, regardless of which app you have open on the phone, and what you are doing. This might seem a little confusing, but the examples mentioned below should allow for a better understanding of what purpose Google Now on Tap serves.
For example, say you’ve received an email from a friend who is asking about going out to a movie, like Pitch Perfect 2. While within the email application you’re using, Inbox by Gmail in this case, a simple long press of the home button will bring up a Google Now card with all the relevant information about the movie, such as its rating, cast info, and more. Also available are a list of apps to get even more information, in this case being IMDB and Flixster, as well as Youtube to directly watch a trailer of the movie.
Google Now on Tap is able to provide information on everything from people, places, movies, music, and more, or basically anything that Google can search for.
Functionality isn’t limited either, with Google Now on Tap able to provide information on everything from people, places, movies, music, and more, or basically anything that Google can search for. The list of apps that show up on these cards also vary, with Google attempting to predict what you’re next step will be, to help get to it much faster and easier. For example, when asked about a place while using the Viber app, Google Now on Tap will once again pull up some relevant information about the location in question, with the list of additional apps including Google Maps for navigation, and Yelp and Trip Advisor to find out more about the place.
As far as which apps Google Now on Tap will work with, there isn’t really anything the developer has to do from their side, with the functionality built into Android M. As long as the application is indexed by Google, Google Now on Tap can be used. The same holds true for the additional list of apps that show up, and as long as the app is installed on your device, it will be listed if relevant to that scenario.
Of course, this works with voice search as well, with users being able to use the “Ok Google” voice command from any screen and any app on your phone. Google Now will then bring contextual awareness here as well. For example, if you’re listening to a band on Spotify, you can just say “Ok Google, who is the lead singer” and it’ll recognize the context of your search without you needing to mention the name of the band, and give you the answer you were looking for.
Google Now on Tap will be available with the upcoming Android M release in Q3 later this year. You can find out more about everything that Google announced during the keynote here.