Google's Android 6.0 Marshmallow release may have been announced last October -- but if you're like the majority of Android users, it's probably pretty new to you right about now. Heck, you might even still be waiting to receive it! (The joys of Android upgrades, eh?)
Whether you're a Marshmallow newbie or an Android 6.0 veteran, though, there's plenty to be learned about Google's latest major mobile effort. Check out these tips and see what new tricks you can teach your favorite Android phone or tablet.
(Note that these tips are written specifically as they apply to Google's core Android 6.0 software. Many device manufacturers modify the operating system to put their own spin on the features and interface, which could result in some elements looking different or even being absent altogether on certain devices.)
1. Take full advantage of Now on Tap
One of Marshmallow's most promising features is something called Now on Tap -- an expanded version of Google's virtual assistant that provides contextual info tied to whatever's on your screen at any given moment. To use it, just tap and hold your device's Home key and see what comes up.
Now on Tap can do some genuinely useful things, and its powers have continued to expand since Marshmallow's initial release. If you activate it while an airline flight number is on your screen, for instance -- say, in a text message -- Now on Tap will show you that flight's status without forcing you to switch apps or interrupt what you're doing. If you activate it while looking at the tracking number for an online purchase, meanwhile, the system will give you the current status of your package delivery.
You can also use Now on Tap to get directions to a business or street address, info and reviews about a restaurant, or reviews and show times for a movie. As long as the subject is mentioned on your screen, tapping and holding the Home button should do the trick.
2. Or turn off Tap altogether
For all of Now on Tap's potential, the truth is that the feature is still useful only in a small and relatively limited number of scenarios. For some people, it just isn't versatile enough to justify its system-wide placement on the Home key -- particularly since in previous versions of Android, that same spot was reserved for a universal shortcut to the full Google Now interface.
The good news, though, is that Now on Tap is super-easy to disable. And once you turn it off, tapping and holding your Home key will once again take you to Google Now from anywhere in the system.
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