At its I/O 2015 developer conference today, Google unveiled Now on Tap, an extension of the company’s existing Google Now feature. The functionality will only be available in Android M and later.

Speaking on stage at I/O, Google product management director Aparna Chennapragada talked about the three components of Google Now available right now: context, answers, and actions. Now on Tap extends all three by letting you get information wherever you are in Google’s mobile operating system.

In Android M, you can tap and hold the home button to get access to Google Now directly. That means you can be watching a video or listening to audio, using an app, or browsing the web, and Not on Tap can help without you having to leave what you’re doing.

Chennapragada offered a few examples. If a friend emails you about seeing the new movie Tomorrowland, you can invoke Google Now without leaving your app, and quickly see the ratings, watch a trailer, or even buy tickets.


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Next, imagine you’re chatting with a friend about where to get dinner. Google Now can offer details about the place your friend recommends, as well as suggest other apps on your phone, like OpenTable or Yelp, so you can easily make a reservation, read reviews, or check out the menu.


Now on Tap also means you can say “Ok Google” from any screen and any app. If you’re listening to Twenty One Pilots on Spotify, you can say “Ok Google, who’s the lead singer” and get your answer right away (notice you don’t have to specify the singer’s name).


Now on Tap is a feature with a massive amount of potential. Unfortunately, it’s not available in Android M just yet.

For more details on all the new features designed for the next version of Android — Android M — head here.

To view all of VentureBeat’s Google I/O coverage, click here.

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