comscore Google starts testing Android Instant Apps, lets you use apps without installing them

Google starts testing Android Instant Apps, lets you use apps without installing them

Instant Apps means more free space on your smartphone.

Google Instant Apps

You will soon be able to run some Android apps without installing them on your smartphone. Instant Apps, first teased at by Google at I/O 2016 keynote, is now open for limited testing. Google announced that it is now running a limited test of the feature before a wider rollout. The first apps to be part of the trial include BuzzFeed, Periscope, Viki, and Wish. The technology essentially allows one to use a particular app without having to download it on the device. Also Read - WhatsApp users on iPhone will soon able to Undo Status, suggests report

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In its developers blog, Google notes that Instant Apps is part of its effort to help users discover and run apps with minimal friction. Google will be taking into consideration the user feedback on the technology before expanding the experience to more apps and users. Similar to how streaming works, Instant Apps technology runs an Android app without the user having to install the original app on the device. Now this could be understood as a system where clicking on a link with an associated app will launch the bitesized version of the app sans the need for installation. The feature is compatible with majority of Android devices that use Google Play services or with those running Jelly Bean and above. Also Read - Google will not store your bank card details from January 1, 2022: Here’s how it will impact you

As Google explains in its blog, to develop an instant app, developers need to update their existing Android app to take advantage of the Instant App technology and then modularize it so that part of it can be downloaded and run on-the-fly. This essentially involves splitting the app into multiple modules and with deep linking Google Play fetches only those modules which are necessary to run it. Using search, social media links, messaging links, and other deep links, developers can thus offer a full app experience without the need to install the app first. Developers also need to add intent filters for the relevant activities which allows deep linking to the content. Google further says that depending on the app, developers can modularize their apps in less than a day. While the full SDK will be available in the coming months, developers can start taking steps such as trimming their apps down and supporting URL-based navigation to build Instant Apps.

Instant Apps is also aimed at those who want to check the preview of the app before hitting the full scale installation. So for example, if you search for something and the result is an app, Google will stream the app and offer the same experience as you would have with a full app. Also, once you have used the on-the-fly version, you can choose to install the full app. ALSO READ: Google Search can now stream apps you don t have installed on your smartphone

With the growing culture of app-based ecosystem, the onboard storage available on devices is often insufficient for the end user. Other than solving the problem with download size and storage issues, Instant Apps also aims to solve the real problem with OS level fragmentation in Android. The idea here is to remain relevant in search and offer users result deep within a mobile app.

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  • Published Date: January 24, 2017 5:54 PM IST

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