Has Google just revolutionised how we use apps?

23 Nov 2015

Google is knitting apps and searching together. Get it? Knitting? Yea, you get it.

Google has started streaming apps on the go to users who haven’t even downloaded them, meaning your search requests get better answers and, presumably, you no longer need apps taking up memory on your phone.

The challenge with all apps is how to persuade users to take up some of their often very limited phone memory space with a product tailored to often only one purpose.

The benefit of apps is that, when it comes to that sole purpose, they’re often easier to use, faster and nicer to look at than a search engine.

Google, though, could be changing the game now after it announced plans to work with nine trial apps to help speed up searches, add better results to searches and allow people access to apps on the hop – Wi-Fi permitting.

So Android users can essentially access information hidden away in apps that relate to their search terms, location and activity – things Google already knows.

So, for example, if you are on holidays in Prague, and you look up ‘places to eat in Prague’ then, amongst your search results, you could also view a local app that specialises in that.

The project comes on the back of a two-year plan to index app content, which sees Google now holding more than 100bn “deep links into apps”. Using this information is a good idea, and the way Google is executing it is fascinating.

Previously, Google only showed search results of app information that was also available online but now it will show ‘app only’ content too.

Here is how it looks (in low quality):

Google Android

Another key point is the streaming capabilities. Android apps will essentially run remotely in the cloud, so a Wi-Fi connection enables users to tap into them.

You can pop into an app, check out what you need and get back out, all without taking up memory on your phone. Of course, there will also be app download promotions, for those who want it.

But from what I can tell this could quite easily result in people going the other way, walking away from some apps and heading back to Google’s bread and butter search engine.

The trial apps are Chimani, Daily Horoscope, Gormey, Hotel Tonight, My Horoscope, New York Subway, Useful Knots, Visual Anatomy Free, and the Weather Channel.

Android image via Kham Tran on Flickr

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic