Yesterday Google released an update to the Google Search app for Android. While that itself isn’t really news worthy, it is what is in it that makes it so. Google Now on Tap is included in this build, something that was mentioned at Google I/O at the launch of Android Marshmallow but to date hasn’t made an appearance. With this new version, 18.104.22.168 for those keeping score at home, Now on Tap is enabled but you have to be running the Android Marshmallow developer bits to get the benefits.
To be clear, this update to Google Search is for anyone running on Android KitKat, Android Lollipop or Android Marshmallow. The Now on Tap feature however will only work on Marshmallow as the APIs are there to support it. For those who are on Android KitKat or Lollipop, you won’t see this feature but will be prepared for it should your device be upgraded to Marshmallow when it
is released later this month.
For those who aren’t 100% sure what Now on Tap does for you, it provides you contextual information based on what app you are running at the time on your Android phone or tablet. For example, if you are in an email and a friend has invited you to dinner with the name of the restaurant in the email, you can tap-and-hold the Home key and you will see pop-ups of information such as the location of the eatery, reviews, etc. without having to actually leave your email app.
Android Marshmallow is expected to be released in the next week or two and those devices that do see the upgrade (Nexus devices will obviously be amongst the first) will be able to take advantage of Now on Tap.