Google to Disrupt the App Ecosystem?
Not resting on their laurels, Google may be trying to disrupt the very app store model they've helped to pioneer with their acquisition of Agawi, which allows apps to be 'streamed' from the web.
One obvious use for this would be to enable app 'previewing', allowing users to demo an app without installing it, but I believe there may be another reason: mobile Search.
Recently, Google began including deep linked Search results from apps you don't have installed. This is obviously meant to both deliver more relevant mobile Search results and to encourage app downloads. There is one problem, however: it's an all-or-nothing binary choice, which disrupts the Searching process with an install prompt from the app store. Install the app before opening the result... or don't and go straight to a web result instead.
What if, instead, you could 'stream' the result inside the app without installing it? On the one hand, this would expand your available app ecosystem for opening Search results almost infinitely. Just want to use the app once, without committing to installing it? No problem. Want to see the app 'in action' with a relevant Search result before adding it to your app collection? Go for it! Want to install the app later but not yet? You can do that and still use the app right now!
This could make the app ecosystem more like the web, where the end user can benefit from thousands (eventually millions) of apps while having only a few installed at most, much as one needn't install every website one visits.
In addition, while not currently possible, Agawi's technology might eventually work with iOS, giving Google the same power to enhance their iOS Search experience. While iOS apps may only be installable from the App Store, which Apple controls entirely, there is no obvious reason an iOS app couldn't be streamed. This could even open a new channel for app advertising within Google Search: paid advertising to convert these 'streaming app' users to app downloaders.
Agawi could, in effect, help Google bridge the great disconnect between the web, with its unbounded ecosystem of sites between which users may move fluidly, and the app ecosystem, which historically has been more siloed.