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Google Now’s ‘Now on Tap’ Knows What You Want, When You Want It

·Assistant Editor
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If you’ve ever yelled “Why don’t you just know what I want!?” at your phone, then Android’s forthcoming Google Now update is for you.

Called “Now on Tap,” the new feature to Google’s Siri-like personal assistant app borrows context from across various Android apps so that Now will know what you want to do without you even having to ask. It then summons relevant cards with app links and info at the bottom of whatever screen you’re looking at.

During a demo at Thursday’s I/O conference, Googlers used Now on Tap to automatically get information on a movie that was mentioned in an email. The app then asked if they wanted to create a reminder to pick up a dry cleaning order that was mentioned in a text message. Both tasks were handled without leaving either app and without typing or speaking anything into Google Now.

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Long-pressing the Home button in the upcoming Android M version (which will be the first to feature Now on Tap) will slide up relevant Google Now-like info cards that are informed by a “natural language understanding” of the info inside apps that you’re viewing.

Google also demonstrated how tapping on certain plain text inside of a webpage will call up a Google Now search query card at the bottom of Chrome. 

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The old-fashioned ask-for-info utility of Google Now is enhanced by Now on Tap, as well. For instance, Google showed that calling out “OK, Google: What’s his real name?” while listening to a Skrillex song in Spotify will correctly bring up the artist’s name.

There’s no firm date for when Android M and the new Now on Tap features will be coming to phones (beyond the third quarter of 2015). But Google phone people can rest assured that more help in the area of personal digital assistance seems to be on its way.

Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com. Follow me on Twitter at @danielwbean.

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