Why the 'moonshot project' that Google just launched could be such a big deal
Earlier this week, Google announced a new experiment that lets Android users "stream" a select handful of apps through mobile search without downloading them.
Content from the nine apps that Google partnered with will now show up in mobile-search results, even if it doesn't exist on the company's website, and users will be able to click a "stream" button to get the full app experience without installing anything.
Google makes this possible by letting the apps run remotely on virtual machines through its cloud platform.
While app-streaming might not have the same sexiness as some of Google's other moonshots, like self-driving cars or internet-bearing balloons, the feature could have dramatic impact for users, developers, and Google itself moving forward.
When you search for something, you want to know that you're getting the best results as quickly as possible.
But the growing dominance of mobile means that the best content to fulfill your query might be inside an app. That's why Google has spent the last two years convincing app makers to "index" their content to allow it to be searchable by its algorithms in a process called "deep linking."
But now that Google will show app-only content in search, you'll be more likely to get better results since it can talk to both the apps and the websites. And with streaming, you won't be limited to the "mobile-friendly" version of a service's website, which could lack features. Instead, you'll get the full experience as if you were really using their app, without the commitment or smartphone space required to download.
Although Google will only show app-only content and stream a handful of properties like The Weather Channel or The New York Subway apps for now, it will likely bring more services on board, which could mean that you'll have to download fewer apps, and avoid space-hogs
Although it sounds counterintuitive that it could be good for developers to have fewer people downloading their apps, these new features will likely bring them more exposure overall and get users over the first hurdle of testing out their service.
For example, if you didn't see Hotel Tonight's app-only content appearing in search results, you may never know about the service at all. And if you have to download the app before testing it, you may be more likely to use a desktop service like Kayak.
Google wants users to keep searching for "best hotels in Chicago" or "Nikon camera" through its engine rather than starting on HotelTonight or Amazon, because that allows it to sell ads against those searches.
If users realize that they can access in-app content through search, they're more likely to keep using Google search on their smartphones. Which, of course, protects Google's mobile-ad revenue#mobile #mobileSEO #google #deeplinking