Google Search is getting better today thanks to a couple of new app-focused features. The first big feature of this improved app support is the ability to show content that is only inside of apps. Google’s App Indexing has helped to point you toward apps for a while now, but that feature required that that info be on the web, too. Starting today, Google can show app-first content, like hotels in the HotelTonight app.
The second major improvement to Google search is the ability to stream apps. With this feature, Google will show you a streamed version of an app that you don’t have installed on your device, enabling you to use the app’s features without actually downloading it. For example, if you search for a hotel and HotelTonight results come up, you can tap on the “Stream” button next to the result and bring up a streamed version.
To start, Google is testing its new Search-related app features with a handful of small partners. Those include HotelTonight, Chimani, Daily Horoscope, and New York Subway. Google says that it plans to expand these features, so we should see more apps supporting the features soon.
Google’s App Indexing feature is helpful because it can kick you to an app that you have installed that’ll likely offer a better mobile experience than a website. Today’s Search improvements build upon App Indexing, showing info that can only be found in apps and making it easy for you to access that info if you don’t have a particular app installed. The app streaming feature seems especially cool, letting you get to the info that you need without having to take extra time to jump into the Google Play store and install an app. And app streaming is good for app developers because once a user streams an app, it could prompt them to actually download it for future use.