Calling Instant Apps, functionality allows users to browse parts of apps without having to download and install them on their smartphone.
At its 2016 I / O developer conference, Google has demonstrated a bit of an interesting new initiative that allows users to interact with pieces of an application without having to download it. Calling Android Instant Apps, the technology was created to ease the process of installing applications, and now Google is finally ready to test it.
Although available in a “test-limited” mode with only four developers – BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki – Instant Apps can dramatically change the way we interact with our smartphone apps.
For example, for the current system, if someone sends you a link to an item for sale in the Wish app and you do not have the app installed on your device then you will be redirected to the Play Store where you would have to download and install the App, find it on your device, open it and search for the item. With Instant Apps, clicking on the incoming link will automatically open that app page whether it’s installed on your device or not. From there, you buy the item or save the link on your home page, all without having to go through the entire download process.
Of course, if you want, you can download the full app, but the whole process is done to remove friction from what should just be quick interactions. It’s kind of like opening web apps or Chrome Custom Tabs, but with a lot more power behind it.
As Google explains, the experience is not minimized or lost in any way. Instead, the user will be using the full app, only directed to that particular snippet you requested. “To develop an instant app, you’ll need to upgrade your existing Android app to take advantage of Instant Apps functionality and then modularize your app so that part of it can be downloaded and run on the air. You’ll use the same Android APIs and the same project in Android Studio. “
Google promises the full SDK for Instant Apps will be available in the “coming months”.
Instant Apps will work with Android versions dating to Jelly Bean, but the breadth of functionality testing is not yet clear or how Google will ask for feedback from users. In tests done by PC World USA with a link from Wish, it sent the user to download the complete application in the Play Store.