Google’s mobile future is in App Streaming

Chris Burns - Nov 18, 2015, 2:43pm CST
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Google’s mobile future is in App Streaming

Google’s next big play for the mobile universe (with Android, for now) is in the ability to stream an app instead of downloading it to your device. Instead of downloading an app to book a hotel, for instance, then tossing the app away after you’re done with your vacation, Google wants you to stream it. You’ll see the app pretty much the same way you’d see any other app, but all of its content will be hosted on the internet.

This whole setup will be temporary, and your phone won’t need to download and keep an app just so you can use it. Instead, you’ll be streaming the app the same way you stream a video on a service like Netflix. Each app will no longer need to take up space on your smartphone – you’ll use that space for temporary local content.

This feature is heavily internet-based, as you can imagine.

Google spoke of this Stream option for apps this afternoon in an “Inside Search” article where, according to Google Engineering Manager Jennifer Lin, “you’re also going to start seeing an option to “stream” some apps you don’t have installed, right from Google Search, provided you’re on good Wifi.” To see this option, you’ll simply search for the service you’re looking for – like a cab company – and tap the “Stream” button next to the app for the company that appears in your search results.

This service is available through the Google Search app right now for some users with the following partners: HotelTonight, Chimani, Daily Horoscope, and New York Subway. We’ll likely see more in the near future.

This is part of Google’s ongoing mission to put all app content in Google Search results. Google began indexing app content back in 2013 – now they’re at the point at which you’re able to search deep content within apps, as well. Facebook, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Instagram results can be found in a standard Google search.

Google’s future is in apps – but not the way you treat apps today. Welcome to the future.


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