At its developer conference event I/O 2015, Google unveiled a new version of its mobile operating system Android M, a new payment system Android Pay, new Photos app, and Brillo operating system for IoT devices among other exciting developments. But one of the major highlights at the event was something else entirely. At the sidelines, the company announced a feature which aims to improve user experience by bringing search and context into user’s view regardless of the app they are using. It’s called Now on Tap.
For years, Google has been trying to expand Now’s presence across different services and apps. Earlier this year, the company announced over three dozen services that now support Now, letting glean content from these apps and showcase it at one dashboard. But Google isn’t stopping there.
The new feature allows its Now service to always listen to users and work regardless of the app they are using. As the company notes, Google Now is more prominently placed than ever — one tap away from hovering onto your app with suggestions. Interestingly, it doesn’t even require developers to implement this feature into their apps as it works automatically.
“We’re working to make Google Now a little smarter in the upcoming Android M release, so you can ask it to assist you with whatever you’re doing—right in the moment, anywhere on your phone,” writes Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management of Google Search. “With “Now on tap,” you can simply tap and hold the home button for assistance without having to leave what you’re doing—whether you’re in an app or on a website.”
This is a great addition to Now and other apps. For end users, it means they can tap on the home button and get their queries answered along with getting some contextual information on top of any app they want. Imagine you’re using Wynk Music app, if you click on the home button it will feed you with information about the song you’re listening to, similarly on Uber, it will tell you about the place you’re headed to.
Google could utilize the mammoth of data and services support it has to cater more information to people. The company could, for instance, help someone looking for a doctor’s recommendation from his Facebook friends, get direction to that doctor’s clinic, and/or even quickly give an option to get a taxi to reach that place. The application of this integration is huge.
As Google and Facebook fight to get more users on board and build a walled garden to restrict them to their own bubbles, the Now on Tap feature could significantly give Google a boost over others.
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