If you haven’t given Google Now On Tap a spin, now seems like the ideal time to try out the Android search-and-discover tools. Previously able to draw information from Google within third-party apps, the service now has three new features: text translation, discovering related content, and reading barcodes and QR codes. Using each one is as simple as holding down the home button.
First and foremost, if you want to use Google Now On Tap, you’ll need a phone with Android 6 Marshmallow (at least), with the language set to English, Japanese, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Korean, Portuguese or Russian. Just hold down the home button on any screen, and follow the prompts. Turning on Google Now On Tap takes less than a minute.
The first of Google Now On Tap’s new features is a text translation functionality, which could theoretically come in handy for everything from travel apps to foreign games. Android users are no strangers to Chrome’s real-time translation abilities, but Google Now On Tap now offers the same features for just about any app. If you see text in a foreign language, just hold down the home button, and you’ll get the option to translate it.
The new Discover feature could be potentially useful for Chrome as well as any kind of app that deals in information. Suppose that you’re reading an article about astronomy, the Google Inside Search blog posits. Hold down home, tap on the Discover icon, and Google will instantly bring up lots of other relevant, recent articles and videos about the same topic. You could do this in other apps, too — imagine finding related recipes in a cooking app or similar TV shows in a streaming video program.
QR and Barcode Image Search
The last feature is probably something you already have an app for, but here’s a way to do it without a third-party program. By holding down the home button and activating Google Now On Tap before you take a photo, you can now scan barcodes and QR codes right from your phone’s native camera app. Chrome will automatically run a search on the information and bring you to sites where you can learn more information about whatever product or code you’ve scanned.
These three features may not revolutionize your whole Android experience, but they sound like they could save some time or bring users some potentially interesting new information. Expect more Google Now On Tap features to roll out as the year progresses.