“There’s an app for that” is a term that’s become synonymous with app stores because no matter what you’re looking for, there’s likely an app that’ll suit. But more often than not, having a ton of apps you use only once or twice a month cluttering your phone isn’t exactly ideal, and Google think they’ve solved that issue.
At Google I/O last night, Google unveiled Instant Apps, a way for companies to provide links to apps, which open up as a very small window in your web browser which allow you to use a feature almost instantly.
A few examples were shown at the conference including map locations popping up, videos, listings, and payment methods, all of which you’d find in the company’s actual app, but without the added bloat of installing the actual app itself.
The way this works is that although the app is available to download on the Play Store, developers can “modularise” their apps which allow certain functions to be used outside of the actual app itself, such as payment methods. Perhaps you’re used to paying for parking via an app once in a blue moon but hate having the app installed on your device, well with Instant Apps, the developer can link to the Instant App version allowing you to pay for parking without using the app or even leaving the web browser.
Unfortunately it may take a little time for this to actually come into play, and when it does, it’ll just be limited to Android devices, which isn’t necessarily a problem per se, but it does mean that some users will miss out on this functionality.
“We’ve been working with a small set of partners to help refine the experience, including developers like BuzzFeed, B&H Photo, Medium, Hotel Tonight, Zumper and Disney. We’ll be gradually expanding access for developers and bringing Instant Apps to users later this year,” Google said in a blog post.
Google has been doing a lot to make web browsing as painless as possible, first with their Accelerated Mobile Pages project which allows publications to serve instant versions of their content from Google Search, and now Instant Apps, which hopes to make using certain apps easier and quicker than ever before.