As part of its drive to organize and preserve the vast amount of data humans have accumulated over the course of their journey on this planet — on the internet, Google has been scratching its head about the best possible way to index Android applications — of which there are quite a few now.
It seems like the company has arrived upon a solution. Starting today, it has started indexing Android apps. What’s more, Google has also started dabbling with a brand new service that will potentially allow users stream apps that they don’t have installed.
App indexing was begun as early as 2013, with the major focus being upon applications which had a corresponding website with similar information. However, this time Google is shifting its focus to include apps which either do not have matching web content at all or which if present, does not quite match up to the quality of the experience and information provided by the app.
The company is starting its initiative with 9 applications, namely, Hotel Tonight, Weather, Chimani, Gormey, My Horoscope, Visual Anatomy Free, Useful Knots, Daily Horoscope, and New York Subway.
As per Rajan Patel, Director of mobile search, Google to VentureBeat
We want to make sure users are engaging with this app-only content” and that “the streaming experience works well. If users enjoy it, and we see they’re using it, we will expand the scope.
Bringing us to the other important news — that of streaming applications. Google will soon allow you to explore all the features of an application without needing to download and install it upon your device. All you need, is a fast and stable Wi-Fi connection. All you need is Android Lollipop on your smartphone — tablets are not supported yet — and search via Google’s web portal for the relevant app.
Once the search results yield what you are looking for, simply tap ‘stream’ and voila! You can do everything you could if the app was actually installed on your device. The applications are actually running in real-time on Google’s Cloud Platform, using the same technology behind Google Cloud Test Lab. Similar to how you interact with a video streaming onto your device, the tech allows you to do much the same — this time with apps — sending your gestures to the cloud and bringing appropriate responses back to you.
The potential of this feature is of course, revolutionary. Think about it this way, you don’t have a taxi-hailing app on your device yet need to book a taxi, quickly. What do you do? Open Google, stream the app, book a cab and that’s it. Provided you a have a great internet connection, you can just stream your way through everything. Revolutionary, I tell you!
Google is trying the feature out with a few apps and once it makes the appropriate changes to the User interface to improve the overall experience, you can expect it to scale it up for other Android apps, likely followed by iOS applications.
As per Patel,
Today, you’re more likely to be searching on your mobile device, and the best answers may be buried in an app … perhaps one that you don’t even have installed yet.
And that is exactly where Google is going to come in.