Last week, Google said that it is working on a new feature for its mobile search that will allow users to use information from apps without the need to install them.
Google says that the new functionality will let users take advantage of data residing in applications even though the app might not be installed on their phones. To do this, Google will run the app on virtual servers that it will host, the information will then be streamed to the user’s device. One catch here is that considering the amount of data being transferred, the user will have to be connected to Wi-fi.
So, to take an example, if someone wants to search for a hotel in a particular area, the user won’t have to go to a travel app. As long as the app is indexed by Google search, the user can just stream the data and interact with it as if it has been installed on the phon.
This is possible because Google has been, over the last couple of years, extending its efforts to index data that resides solely on applications (both Android and iOS). Earlier, Google just indexed app information that was also available on webpages.
As per reports in Western media, Google has tied up with 9 app developers to test this functionality.
The move, if successful and widely implemented, would be great news for users. With the number of apps growing every day on mobile, it has become increasingly difficult to find the right application for users. On the other hand, even developers have been having a hard time getting enough eyeballs.
One study by Gartner indicates that by 2017, the global app market will see over 268 billion downloads and will generate $77 billion worth of revenue. According to estimates, there are about 1.6 million apps just on the Google Play Store.
For application developers, this is akin to a free advertisement on Google. If the user likes the app, he is more likely to install it, at least that is seems to be the general feeling right now.