With nicer displays, sharper photos and longer battery, smartphones aren’t just getting better, their getting smarter. Apple ad Google have each been trying to make the smartphone experience more natural- Apple with proactive Siri suggestions in iOS9, and more recently Google with its “Now on Tap” available on Android Marshmallow.
“Now on Tap” is part of Google Now- an intelligent assistant to Android users. Have a bunch of meetings lined up, or a long drive ahead of you? Google Now will automatically tell you what time you need to leave in order to beat traffic, where your next meeting is and how to get there. According to Sundar Pichai, Google SVP, “You’re deluged with a lot of information on your phones. We have the biggest investment in machine learning over the last few years, and we believe we have the best capabilities in the world.”
“Now on Tap” functions as an opt-in feature, allowing users access to more information from directly within an application. For example, you no longer need to leave one app to run a search in another, or use a mobile web browser. The Verge says, “The most interesting part of Now on Tap might be that Google is actually giving you a way to eschew organic search; other options are right there for you.”
Google Now understands over 100 million places, and it’s not just simple business listings. Not just “geometry,” but when are they busy, when are they open, and what are you likely to need when you’re there? Users can easily ask for information relating to their favorite band, movie or musician and receive an instant response. If Now on Tap can bring someone from a restaurant page directly to an Open Table booking, it doesn’t appear unfeasible that the feature may eventually take you to more purchasing options.