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Google Now on Tap is getting more smarts for text and image search

Derek Walter | June 3, 2016
The updates makes it way more convenient to quickly get some knowledge from Google about a specific word or image that's on your screen.

Updated: 6/2/16: Google made the announcement official with a blog post and further details on the new features. 

Google Now on Tap is pretty cool, but it’s hasn’t quite been the life-altering technology that was promised.

However, some new image and text recognition technologies may win you over. Google says you’ll now see an icon that lets you highlight selected text when you launch Now on Tap (press and hold the home button).

On the bottom bar you’ll see a finger icon, which you then tap in order to select a specific word for an instant search. Google then looks for relevant content from the web and other Google apps.

text now on tap

Now on Tap can now search for a specific word in an article or anywhere else you come across text.

The real magic comes with images. You can use the camera, an existing photo, or an image from another app to put Google’s recognition capabilities to work. I tried it out with my camera pointed at a Starbucks mug and got the following:

image search now on tap

The image recognition capabilities open the door to a lot of possible use cases.

Granted that was a pretty easy guess, but it shows a lot of potential for getting more information about icons you come across throughout your day given that Now on Tap can search from your camera in real-time.

The impact on you: Google is always trying to make search faster, and expanding the Now on Tap capabilities is one way to do that. So give this a try on your next trip or day on the town to see if it’s nifty enough to put into use.


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