Google today announced some nice additions to its Google Now on Tap feature that shipped with Android Marshmallow last year.
Now you’ll be able to use your camera app to look at something through the camera on your Android device and then press the home button to bring up Google Now cards with more information about whatever you’re looking at. Or you’ll be able to get Google Now cards for existing still images that you’re looking at in any given app, like Pinterest.
Also, Google has made it easier to find Google-powered explanations of certain words that you find in a sea of text onscreen. You can now highlight a word to get information about it.
“If you use Now on Tap in an app, email, chat, or news article with a lot of text, sometimes the results aren’t as precise as you’d like,” Google product manager Aneto Okonkwo wrote in a blog post. Now, that’s changing for people with phones and tablets running Android Marshmallow. (Not that that’s a very high percentage of people, but hey, if anyone really wants this, they can consider updating or getting new devices with Marshmallow pre-installed.)
People who have used Google Now on Tap before will recognize this as a major update, specifically one that finally brings Google closer to being able to do Google image searches using the real physical world. The Bing app for iOS lets you do image searches, but Google, even with its image-recognition savvy, hasn’t really made mobile image search a core feature across all types of mobile devices. So today’s update should be most welcome.
Word definitions are only available in English right now, but Google will be enabling the feature for more language in the future, Okonkwo wrote.