The Now On Tap portion of Google Search, still limited to Marshmallow and the Android N developer preview, is getting some new bells and whistles. A few readers tipped us off about the ability to select text in any app, activate the Now On Tap gesture, and get results only about the selected text. It's a great way to narrow the text recognition portion of the tool (which bowed earlier this year) down to only what you want. As we were preparing to report on the new feature, Google went ahead and announced it in a blog post, along with some other neat additions.

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Now On Tap already had some rudimentary contextual recognition chops, but it looks like Google has beefed up the image search, too. Now On Tap can now use image recognition to return results about specific images, especially if they're taking up a majority of the space on your phone or tablet's screen. It should work in any app that displays images, though bigger pictures are better. But wait, there's more! Now On Tap's image searching capabilities can even work in the Camera app, taking still images of the viewfinder and returning contextual results. It should be great for when you're in a new city and you ask yourself, "what's the deal with that weird building/art installation/guy dressed up like a cowboy in a diaper?"

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Changes to Now On Tap seem to roll out entirely server-side, so don't be surprised if they don't appear on every compatible device right away. At the moment the highlighted text tool is only available in English, but Google says that it will spread to other languages in a few weeks.

  • Thanks:
  • Cole,
  • Isiah