What is Google Now On Tap?

screenshot_20151213-094708_1.jpgGoogle Now On Tap is the latest iteration of Google Now, Google’s search service on Android and iOS devices. It was mentioned as significant new feature when the latest version of Android was announced, Marshmallow 6.0. I have had it on my Nexus 9 for a few months already but it seemed like nothing more than a novelty until just a few days ago.

screenshot_20151213-150145_1.jpgGoogle has always made it easy to access the internet by providing a search widget on Android since the early days. But with Google Now, Google was able to really boost the functionality of the basic search widget by providing informative cards about frequently searched subject matter (sports teams, stocks, etc.) Voice search and commands were also introduced with Google Now bringing great functionality to the search function. Adding events to calendar, setting reminders and alarms or timers could easily be done by voice with Google Now as well.

I remember early on Google had so many projects and apps going that it was hard to keep up. The casual user easily got overwhelmed by the options and simply gave up on giving them a try. These apps and projects are all coming to fruition in Google Now on Tap.

Before I had a smartphone Goog-411 was my lifeline. I could use it to get directions or phone numbers sent to my basic cell phone. It was a great free service Google benefitted from by collecting voice recognition technology. It was abandoned once enough data was gathered for Google to make future apps useful, such as Google Now.

screenshot_20151214-095057_1.jpgAnother one of these Google apps that many aren’t aware of or at least have forgotten is Google Goggles. Google Goggles still exists in the Play Store or App store on iOS. This app utilizes your camera to give you feedback on images from barcodes to paintings. Once again Google learns by providing free apps to users. Now they are coming together to provide even better smartphone search capabilities.

With a simple long press of the home button on an Android device, a Google logo will appear. Swipe to it and Google Now will be activated on most devices, but on devices running Android 6.0 Google Now on Tap will be activated.

What makes Google Now on Tap different is that instead of opening a separate app it will scan your screen and attempt to give info based on what it has learned. From your homescreen it really doesn’t do much. Which made me think initially that this feature had potential future but no real use at the moment. The problem was I was using it wrong.

So far the best use I have found for Google Now on Tap is within Instagram and other social media apps. Google now brings a ton more information to you without leaving the app. If I’m looking at Recreational Coffee on Instagram. I can find out a ton more information about the business just by holding down the home button or any other software button. Options for Google Maps, Google, Twitter, the company’s website, and even Street View are available for me to chose from. They are all overlaid on top of the Instagram account. I can select any one of them and move to that app or simply ignore the info for now and continue scrolling through my Instagram account.

It’s that seamless integration that Google has been moving towards with every app and side project it has built to this point. I don’t have to fumble through my myriad of apps. Google will bring the apps I need to me via Google Now on Tap.

The potential is there for so much more, but the time is right for Google Now on Tap today. Check it out, let me know what other uses you can come up with.





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