During Google I/O yesterday (May 18), the company introduced something new called Google Instant Apps for Android. Basically, you can have the app experience in the mobile web without a download.
It seems that Instant Apps is a manifestation or evolution of App Streaming, which of course many people haven’t been able to experience yet. Users are taken to the relevant part of the Android app in question with a simple link or deep link. During the show, BuzzFeed video was demo’d.
The idea behind this new way of accessing apps is a lot like AMP, as it’s a much faster way of accessing app content and functionality without having to move to separate apps to get the content you’re looking for. Where AMP would have pre-downloads or caches of information for the user to access when they feel like it, Instant Apps would have app content rendered in a modular way where only parts of the app are made available.
Once the operation or desired task or content has been delivered to the user, a prompt will be given to download the full app. This way, Android developers and publishers are able to geet their apps in front of people without the front-end friction of downloads before users can even see the desired content. Think of these modular app components as landing pages.
To get this to work, developers are going to have to “modularize” their apps, which could take as little as “a day of work.” Of course, it’ll depeond on the complexity and structure of the app. Google has said:
You modularize your app, and Google Play downloads only the parts that are needed, on the fly. And when you do upgrade, your app will be available to more than a billion users on Android devices going back to Jelly Bean.
A handful of partners have been testing the functionality of Instant Apps:
- Hotel Tonight