How To Use Google Now on Tap on Android

Make the most out of this smart feature

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Google Now on Tap is an enhancement of a feature called Google Now, in which various cards pop up with information relating to what you're doing on your smartphone. For example, if you search for a restaurant, you may get a card with driving directions and the estimated travel time. Or if you've searched for a sports team, you may get a card with that team's season record or current score if they're playing. The "on tap" part of this feature gives you the power to request more information when you need it and to interact directly with the app that you're using. It works with most Google products, as well as some third-party apps. You can start using it once you update your Android OS to 6.0 aka Marshmallow or later.

Here's what you can do with Google Now on Tap.

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. It's easy, but I'll admit I had to look it up. (Luckily 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 a artist, band, or song

Google Now on Tap: Music

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

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.

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