Google is rolling out an update to its self-titled app for Android, bringing it up to version 5.3. It’s available to download for free for anyone running Android 4.4 or later, bringing a fresh look to the standard Google Launcher. For those running Android ‘M’ Dev Preview 3, the update also brings one of Marshmallow‘s most exciting features: Now on Tap…
Google Now on Tap lets users see contextual information on any screen they happen to be on, whether that’s in messages, Instagram, on a web page or anywhere. By long-pressing the ‘home’ button, customers can bring up directions, information as well as any apps relevant to that onscreen information. For instance, using Now on Tap in a text message containing the name of a restaurant will bring up the options to navigate, call, read Yelp reviews or reserve a place using OpenTable. You can also use it to automatically detect actions and create reminders in Google Keep, among many other actions. It’s intuitive and displays contextual information and possible interactions. In other words, it’s pretty smart.
For those not running Dev Preview 3, you can still download the new app and get a new look and feel for your Now Launcher. You’ll get the new Google Now screen, complete with colorful new logos and a vertical scrolling app drawer.
Sadly, my initial experience of Now on Tap has been plagued by bugs. Although I know of other users who have it working without any hiccups, I constantly get the message saying ‘Google Now can’t be reached at the moment’. Be sure to let us know how you get on with the new update, and if you love/hate the new logos and design. With Android 6.0 Marshmallow due to land in the next few months, you’ll have to get used to it either way. Unless you’re planning on using that iOS app to help you switch to iPhone.