We thought third-party app support would be the coolest thing headed to Google Now this year, but we weren’t even close. Google has announced Now on Tap, a new context-driven element for Google Now that’ll help you figure stuff out, take action and look up information related to what you’re looking at on your phone.
The quick explanation is that you can be inside an app, and Google Now — should you call on its never-ending expertise — can automatically determine what context you’re speaking in, even without specifics. One example was Spotify. You could be listening to Skrillex, and say “OK Google, what’s his real name?” From there, Google Now knows that “his” refers to “Skrillex” and will load up a Google Search that’ll return that exact information.
Another example showed two spouses messaging each other and asking about a restaurant for dinner. Holding the home button — still within that conversation — automatically brings up the restaurant, with reviews and directions for driving there. It’ll also be able to surmise whether you’re talking about a movie within an email conversation, or if you’re trying to find out more information about a specific food item on a menu inside a restaurant’s app.
The most interesting part of all this is that Google claims developers will not have to make any modifications to their apps for Google Now on Tap to work. It just happens, and it’s damn cool.
Privacy aside, Google Now on Tap is very cool, and is perhaps the single biggest addition to the service since its arrival a couple of years back. Be sure to check out the video demos of Google Now on Tap in action in the YouTube clip above, and look forward to being able to try it out on the Android M developers’ preview once it’s ready.