During Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, Google announced it will make its virtual assistant Google Now even smarter with Now on Tap, which adds contextual information and improved natural language support.
At its core, Now on Tap looks at what is on your screen and takes relevant actions, based on what you need in that moment. For example, if you’re listening to music on Spotify, you can ask for the artist’s given name, without specifically saying the artist’s stage name, and Google Now will provide you an answer. Another example Google highlighted is when you’re reading an email that talks about movies. Pressing and holding the home button will present you with various Google Now cards for each of the movies, so you can check out a synopsis or grab tickets.
Of course, Now on Tap can work in a variety of scenarios, such as Google Now automatically pulling up restaurant reviews and hours when you text someone about dinner plans. However, it can also work in simpler scenarios, such as presenting you with a definition card when you tap on a word in Chrome.
As Google Now product director Aparna Chennapragada described it, “We want to proactively bring you answers. Not just geometry, but when are they busy, when are they open, and what are you likely to need when you’re there?” Chennapragada teased that there might be more to Now on Tap than Google decided to share at I/O, as the Google Now product director said the company will share more information over the next few months.
Chennapragada alluded that the updated Google Now has very close ties to the company’s upcoming Android M release, which should arrive later this year. As such, we might expect the updated Google Now to be available for phones running the upcoming version of Android. Google Now’s contextual knowledge comes as Apple is rumored to announce its own Google Now competitor during WWDC, the company’s annual developer conference, early next month.