How To Use "Google Now on Tap" on Android

This smart feature was the precursor to Google Assistant

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Samsung

With the release of Android 7.0 (Nougat), Google Now on Tap was replaced by Google Assistant. You'll find more information on how to use Google Assistant in Lifewire's guide here.

Google Now on Tap was an enhancement of a feature called Google Now, in which various cards popped up with information relating to what you were doing on your smartphone. For example, if you searched for a restaurant, you might have gotten a card with driving directions and the estimated travel time. A search for a sports team might have produced a card with that team's season record or a current score. The "on tap" part of this feature gave you the power to request more information when you needed it and to interact directly with the app that you were using. It worked with most Google products, as well as some third-party apps. It debuted with Android 6.0 (aka Marshmallow) but evolved into Google Assistant with Android 7.0.

The directions below applied to all Android phones running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), regardless of manufacturer.

Turn It On

Enable Google Now on Tap

Once you've got the Marshmallow OS or later installed, you have to enable Google Now on Tap. Fortunately, Google has instructions. All you have to do is press and hold the home button, whether your smartphone has a hardware or software button. At left, you can see the message that pops up. Click turn on and you're good to go. Tap your home button to use this feature going forward or say "OK Google" and ask a question related to the app you're using.

You can also access Google Now and its settings by swiping right on your screen. Under Voice, you can enable or disable "On Tap." 

Get Information About an Artist, Band, or Song

Google Now on Tap: Music

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We gave Google Now on Tap a try, first by playing a song on Google's Play Music, though it will work in third-party music apps too. You'll get links to information about the song playing as well as the artist, with links to YouTube, IMDb, Facebook, Twitter, and other apps with relevant information. This way you can follow your favorite band on social media or view music videos without having to open a browser and do a Google search.

Learn More About a Movie (Or Series of Movies)

Google Now on Tap: Movie

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You can do the same with movies; as you can see here, Google Now on Tap brought up information both about the Star Wars movie series and the 2015 film.

Get Details About a Restaurant, Hotel, or Other Point of Interest

Google Now on Tap: Place

The same goes for places. Here we searched for "Four Seasons" and got results for both the hotel and restaurant chain. You can look at reviews of each and get directions quickly.

Sometimes, On Tap Gets It Wrong

Google Now on Tap: irrelevant result

On our first Google Now on Tap attempt, I launched it in the Gmail app after I received a notification that a new episode of a podcast was available. The piece is titled "The Golden Chicken, " and Google Now pulled up information about a restaurant with that name rather than the podcast.

And Sometimes, There's Nothing

Google Now on Tap: Nothing

It's also possible, though not easy, to stump Google Now on Tap with an obscure search or an app that it can't read, such as your photo gallery. All in all, though, it's a great research tool.