In the seemingly never-ending battle for smartphone supremacy, tech giants such as Google (GOOGL, GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Samsung (SSNLF) have been racing to develop an attractive, affordable device that can successfully handle every need and deliver on any request from the user.
For the most part, today’s smartphones are immensely powerful and comprehensive — you have more computing power in your hand right now than all of NASA combined when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
All things considered, modern smartphones can perform an impressive array of tasks, and the demands for “better” devices are more related to convenience than functionality.
But convenience goes a long way with consumers in our instant-gratification society, and GOOG is looking to take the lead in the convenience department with the introduction of Google Now on Tap, an enhancement to the current voice-controlled native Android assistant.
Google Now on Tap Improves Multitasking
Last week on the official Google Search blog, GOOG’s director of product management described how Google Now on Tap will make Android devices even more user-friendly and convenient. Simply put, Google Now’s robust information-gathering capabilities will be ingrained into every facet of Android and available at any time, even within other apps. So, users will be able to conduct searches and perform tasks without exiting the other app.
For example, if you’re chatting about a movie or exchanging emails with friends to plan your next theater trip, you’ll be able to use Google Now on Tap to pull up trailers and showtimes, and even buy tickets, without leaving the conversation. Currently, Android devices can already pull up trailers and showtimes with apps like IMDB or Flixster, but you’ll have to temporarily pause or exit your chat or email app to access the information.
In a way, Google Now on Tap can be viewed as a multitasking feature for Android, allowing users to remain within their current app while simultaneously performing additional tasks.
If it works, Google Now on Tap could be a real time-saver. Management is hoping that it will help put GOOG on top for mobile search, which could ultimately boost Google stock. Power users are surely drooling over the coming enhancements to the Google Now assistant, which is expected to be included in the upcoming Q3 release of Android M.
One question, however, is whether Google Now on Tap will be impressive enough to pull in non-Android smartphone users, specifically iPhone owners. Since Apple is reportedly developing a very similar feature, dubbed Proactive, the likelihood of Google stock experiencing a noticeable benefit from Google Now on Tap will be minimal at best.
Given the speed at which technology evolves and the near total lack of secrecy or privacy in our mobile digital world, even if GOOG releases an impressive update with Android M that also includes Google Now on Tap, it won’t be long before the competition has dissected and reverse-engineered it.
Smartphones have spoiled us. In a matter of seconds, we can obtain nearly any piece of information and communicate with people around the world. This instantaneous access has become so commonplace and expected that the mere presence of a delay long enough for the user’s mind to wander to another subject has been deemed sub-par and unacceptable.
Google Now on Tap may reduce the frequency of such delays and prevent users from being burdened by the solitude of their own thoughts for a few seconds, and it will reduce the cumbersome finger swiping and tapping process required to exit one app and perform tasks in another. However, Google Now on Tap won’t do anything to benefit Google stock.
As of this writing, Greg Gambone did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.