Microsoft Beats Google To Deliver ‘Now on Tap’ To Android
There’s still some time before most of us get to experience Android Marshmallow’s ‘Now on Tap’ feature, however, it looks like Microsoft has managed to one-up the search giant by launching a similar feature within its Bing Search Android app.
Microsoft cheekily calls the feature ‘snapshots on tap’ and allows users to get information and useful actions on an overlay screen related to whatever’s present on the phone screen by long pressing the Home button. Similar to Google’s Now on Tap feature, users do not need to leave the app they’re using and can dismiss the information or ‘snapshot’ once they’re done. These snapshots can also feature links to other apps.
The app is currently available on Google Play Store and Microsoft also intends to bring the feature to Windows Phone in the near future.
Here’s the official description of Snapshots on tap feature in the Play Store listing:
“Beautiful and useful answers show up when you long-press the home button while using one of your favorite apps. Bing detects things on the page, and shows you snapshot of information and useful actions related to these things. No need to leave your app just to look up information on something that caught your eye – do it right in the snapshot. And when you’re done, it’s easy to dismiss it to go back to what you were doing.
Bing also connects users to the best apps and services that allow them to do more. Whether it’s a travel destination, a restaurant, a celebrity, or a song, the snapshot will have links to apps that help you get things done (e.g. book tours, read reviews, see pictures and videos, read the lyrics) .
Bing requires permission to Android’s Accessibility feature for snapshots on tap to work.”
It’s worth pointing out that one of the key Android Marshmallow features is Google Now on Tap, a more advanced version of the company’s digital assistant. While Google Now is presently available, on most phones, only via the Search app, Android 6.0 will make it all-pervasive.
This means that users will be able to pull up Google Now to make a quick search across any app while using the smartphone. All they’ll need to do is to select any section on the screen, for example any particular text, and Google Now on Tap will pull up relevant information, including context-based definitions.