Google App update enables Now on Tap on Marshmallow, brings new app drawer to earlier versions

Now on Tap, Google's "in the moment" contextual assistant feature, has been conspicuous in its absence from Android 6.0 Marshmallow preview builds up until now. But now Nexus owners with the latest Marshmallow preview build can start tinkering with one of the new OS's most notable features, as an update to the Google App finally enables Now on Tap.

Now on Tap Tomorrowland

Now on Tap uses Google's predictive magic to conjure up Now cards about the app you're currently using, for example a movie mentioned in an email or instant message, or a location associated with a calendar appointment. On the current Marshmallow preview build, it's activated by long-pressing the home key, and this pops up helpful context-sensitive cards, similar to what you might see on the main Google Now screen.

Only there's a bit of wonkiness right now, and Now on Tap doesn't seem to be 100 percent reliable just yet. While it is working for some, we've had difficulties getting it to do anything besides show an error message, and others have reported app crashes. That's to be expected, of course, as Marshmallow isn't quite ready for prime time itself just yet. If you're lucky and it does work, you'll be able to explore functionality similar to what was demoed at Google I/O back in May.

The new update also brings the updated Google Now experience, launched for Lollipop and earlier devices a couple of weeks ago, to M Preview testers.

For those running Lollipop, the new Google app update adds the Marshmallow-style vertical scrolling app drawer, complete with suggested apps at the top of the screen. There's also a bit of a bonus for Moto X Play owners, as we've noticed a significant performance improvement in the Google Now Launcher on that phone compared to the previous version.

If you've updated to the new Google App — on a Marshmallow device or otherwise — let us know how you're getting on down in the comments!

MORE: An overview of Now on Tap{.large .cta}

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.