Mobility

How to get the most out of Google's in-app search

If you've given up on Google Now on Tap, check out a feature that might spur you to start using this handy search option again.

Image: Jack Wallen

With the release of Android 6.0.1, the platform's developers built in a new way to search. This isn't just a simple Google search—Android now allows you to search a word or a phrase of text on an open app and then get the Google results for that text.

For example, you're reading content and come across an unfamiliar word or phrase or something you want more information about, so you run an in-app search. It's incredibly handy, and it makes your daily grind more productive.

But how do you pull off this near-magic feat? It's simple...once you know how. That's where I come in. I'll show you how to get the most out of Google's in-app search.

In order to use this app, you must have the latest iteration of Google installed on your device. Also, this is not to be mistaken for the upcoming In Apps search feature that will make searching local apps/storage much easier; this is about extending the search feature to the content you're currently viewing.

With all of that said, let's see how this works.

SEE: Android backdoor is secretly sending user data and texts to China, and no one knows why (TechRepublic)

Read content

First, you must pull up content on your device; this content can come from an email, a web page, Facebook...anywhere. With the content on your screen, long-press your homescreen button and, once the Now on Tap window appears, you'll see a few available actions via buttons (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Using Now on Tap on a OnePlus 3.

Tap the finger button (second from right) and then, when prompted, tap the word you want to search. If you want to search a phrase, tap the first word in the phrase and then, when the blue handles appear (Figure B), drag the right handle to include the rest of the phrase.

Figure B

Figure B

Searching for a phrase instead of a single word.

As soon as you select the word or phrase, Now on Tap will reveal a card that you can tap, which will then open the Google search results for that phrase.

Different actions

When you tap your search text, not only does a card appear, but buttons for various tools appear that you can use to search the selected content.

There is a difference between the content you're provided when you tap the card (which is, effectively, the same as tapping the Google icon) vs. when you tap, say, the Twitter icon. In my example above, when I selected TurnKey Linux, if I tap the Twitter button, I will be taken directly to the TurnKey Linux Twitter page, where I can tap the Follow button to follow their feed.

Does this make Now on Tap relevant?

The short answer is no, this doesn't make Now on Top relevant. In the long-term, the ability to quickly search for something from within another app can go a long way.

There are ways Google could make this functionality more of a must have. For instance, it would be very handy to differentiate between the displayed card and the Google icon results. Say you run a search and a relevant card displays. It would be incredibly handy if, by tapping the displayed card, the search's subject would now be included in your regular Google Now Cards—that would make for an incredibly easy way to add to your Now feed.

Now on Tap is still an afterthought in most users' minds. If you begin to use this feature, you might see there is some relevancy and efficiency to be had.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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