Now on Tap was launched as an extra on top of Google Now last year, and frankly, it was kind of a dud. The feature was slow, unhelpful, and generally pretty annoying. But since its release, Google has been quietly pushing out dozens of new features and tweaks. If you haven’t checked it out in a while, it’s probably time you go back and revisit the feature. Here are 10 great ways you can start making use of the new features Google Now on Tap.
1) Finding out more about a place on Instagram
If you’re viewing a photo that’s been geo-tagged on Instagram, press and hold the Home button to see more details of the place in question. Links to TripAdvisor, the website, even the place’s official social media accounts will pop up. Say (or type) “show me more photos of this place” and you get an appropriate Google image search for the place you’re looking at.
2) Adding numbers to your contacts
If someone emails or texts you a phone number, you don’t have to fiddle around trying to select the digits on screen and then copy and paste them into a contact card. Google Now on Tap can identify the number and knows what to do next. Tap and hold the Home button with the number on screen and you can create a new contact, text, or call the number.
3) Adding events to your calendar
Google Now on Tap can perform a similar trick with dates. If there’s a date, time ,and event listed on screen (in a text or an email for example), then a long press on the Home button will bring up the option to add the detected event to Google Calendar. A new screen pops up asking you to confirm the details and add any extra information that’s missing.
4) Finding a band’s greatest hits
Using Spotify or other popular music apps lets you pull up information on a particular band. You can also ask (or type) some useful follow-up questions as well, including “what’s their best song?”. Google Now doesn’t have an opinion, but it will display a list pulled from a band’s greatest hits album or from a high-ranking list of picks if it can find one on the web.
5) Seeing who starred in a movie
Google Now on Tap can recognize movies in certain apps (Play Movies) and not others (Netflix), so there’s obviously room for improvement when it comes to integrating the technology into third-party apps. If the Home button long press does identify a film correctly, then you’ll see a Cast button amongst one of the options. Tap this to see who starred in the movie.
6) Digging deeper into sports scores
Google Now does a decent job of pulling up sports scores you might be interested in on its own, but add some Now on Tap magic by pressing and holding the Home button. You can get relevant links to the league or tournament as a whole, current standings, official social media accounts, the latest news from other teams in the competition, and more.
7) Getting more context for your long reads
Google Now on Tap can work with read-it-later tools such as Instapaper and Pocket, and it’s very useful if you want to look up more information about a person, place, event, or company that you’re reading about. Press and hold on the Home button to see links to Google, Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google News and more.
8) Running Google searches on particular words and phrases
If you want to run a Google search on the web (in Chrome) you can right-click a selected word or phrase to find the option. Tap and hold on the Home button (to launch Now on Tap), then select the finger icon, and you can do the same on mobile by selecting some text. It comes in handy when there are a lot of potential Now on Tap results on screen.
9) Identifying local landmarks
Now on Tap recently got some Google Goggles-type functionality for recognizing images on screen. That means you can use it to get more information about a local landmark you’re looking at, a famous painting, or a well-known person. Try Now on Tap with a long press of the Home button on any image (it even works within your camera app).
10) Taking and sharing screenshots
You probably use a hardware key shortcut to take screenshots on Android, but Google Now on Tap does the job too. After long-pressing on the Home button, tap the Share button at the very bottom, and you get a screenshot. The benefit of using Now on Tap to take it is that a sharing screen immediately pops up with relevant contacts and installed apps.