It is that time of the year again. Developer Conferences are abound, and both Google and Apple showcase their goods to developers and consumers.
And this year, Google has announced Android M. It is following a release schedule similar to last year, where it would release a developer preview for Nexus Devices in June, and then would release the final version around September, after which OEMs would start adapting it to their devices.
This year, Android’s update isn’t about big revamps. That was taken care of with last year’s Lollipop, which completely changed the design of the OS. This year is about fixing bugs, performance improvements, battery life improvements and Android Pay.
But there’s one feature that really stood out: Now on Tap. You know about Google Now, which offers up useful information in the form of Cards. It does this automatically, contextually, and knows when and where to give you the right cards.
It digs through data to give you information. And Now on Tap is a natural extension of Google Now. It essentially deploys Google Now system wide.
You just double tap the Home Button to do stuff that is based on what’s on your screen. If you are chatting with your friend about a Movie, just tap and hold the Home Button, and you can book tickets then and there. Listening to Music? Tap and hold the Home Button and find out about the artist then and there.
You may also directly command it by saying ‘OK Google’. For example, in the conversation about movies, you can say ‘OK Google, Book tickets for this movie.’
You may also tap on the word to activate Now. Google Now can also suggest Apps that are best for completing that action. The best part is, it is all built into the system. No need for developers to change their Apps. They can add additional data, but it is optional.
Google has a lot of data about the insides of Apps from its app-indexing, and that is being put into good use. Google automatically recognizes data holders like text fields, and understands them contextually.
Of course, this much data being exchanged may lead to privacy concerns, and so this feature is optional. Plus, data is shared only when you press and hold the home button.
This feature will be available only on Android M, due to its implementation being system-level.
What do you think? Pretty impressive, eh?