How to Use Android's New 'Now on Tap' Feature for Detailed Info on Anything
You'll have to forgive me if I sound a little overexcited about this, but in my opinion, Google is in the process of debuting the most innovative™ smartphone feature that we've seen in years. Yeah, sure, Microsoft heard about the feature being in the works and rushed out a similar Android app just 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, a new 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.
The service went live for a brief period, but Google seems to have shut it down temporarily, though we're sure it will be back up shortly. To try this out, your phone will need to be running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which at the time of this writing, is only available as a preview build for Nexus devices. But when that Marshmallow update starts hitting Samsung's Galaxy devices, HTC's One lineup, and LG's G series, Now on Tap is going to rock the smartphone world, so I'll show you how it all works below.
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 (credit to Reddit user doughboy62293), 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.