Skip to main content

Google Now gets even smarter with contextual information through Now on Tap

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Williams Pelegrin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Williams is an avid New York Yankees fan, speaks Spanish, resides in Colorado, and has an affinity for Frosted Flakes. Send…
Google Assistant can now book movie tickets for you all by itself
sony xperia xz3 google assistant

Google Assistant is getting consistently better. This week, Google launched a new feature to Assistant that allows it to essentially book movie tickets. It's a pretty handy feature that completes the process for you in a matter of seconds.

The feature basically allows you to ask Assistant to book tickets for a movie, after which a "Buy tickets" button will pop up with movie times and walk you through the movie-booking process. That's all without needing to navigate through any websites yourself or download any extra apps. It's kind of like autocomplete on steroids.

Read more
Miami public transportation is getting Google Pay — and it could save you money
google pay

Google Pay is expanding its reach in transit. Google has announced that Google Pay users in Miami will soon be able to use their phones to tap-to-pay at turnstiles -- making using the Miami-Dade Metrorail system that extra bit easier.

The new system will be available in all 23 stations in Miami, and can be used starting on Wednesday, August 19. Frequent riders on the transit system can even save money through Google Pay -- the first two rides will come at $2.25 each, while the third will come at $1.15, which makes the total for the day $5.65. That's the equivalent of the day pass -- and any subsequent rides will be covered by that day pass. In other words, you don't really have to think about whether or not you'll need a day pass -- you'll just get it if you pay for it.

Read more
How to navigate with the AR mode in Google Maps to find your way
google pixel 3a review xl hands on 17

Whether you live in a big city or are just visiting, finding a specific location can be a little difficult. It can be easy to get turned around right when you get off the subway or train, for example, and the compass in the maps app you're using may not offer much help. Google's solution is an integrated augmented reality (AR) mode for walking navigation, to help point the way.

The company first announced the feature at Google I/O 2018, and it's finally making its way to the Maps app. AR Mode was initially exclusive to Google's Pixel phones -- including the Pixel 3a -- but the company has now made it available for any Android phone that supports ARCore and any iPhone that supports ARKit. It's only available for use outdoors and in areas with recently published Street View images; AR Mode is not available in India; and because the camera is needed to recognize buildings, it will not work in low-light environments. The feature is still in beta.

Read more