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App streaming is live in the latest beta version of the Google app [Video]


Update: It appears that this feature of the Google app has been live for quite some time, and a Google Support page details the feature.

One of the most ambitious announcements to come from I/O this year was Android Instant Apps. The basic idea is to allow users to use a native app without having to first download it. In the same vein, Google announced app streaming late last year that would allow users to demo the app right from search. Google is beginning to roll out the feature with some select partners and those with the latest beta version of the Google app can try it now…

Currently, searching for an Android app in the Google Search app will bring up a row of Play Store listings. In the future, compatible apps will have a Try now button over its icon. As seen in the video below, Fruit Ninja is one of the first apps to enable app streaming. It immediately loads as if the app was already installed on device. Of course, there is no personalization and users are referred to as Player 1. Additionally, a brief overlay tells users that the app is being streamed by Google with a more info button.

To achieve an instant load, the graphics are noticeably downscaled on a bad connection. At the moment, app streaming is  quite prone to closing and returning users to the search results page. When using an instant app, a persistent Google icon in the bottom left corner lets users download the app from the Play Store, learn more, or go back to Search.

So far, Fruit Ninja appears to the be one of the first apps to support streaming. In the future, Instant Apps will be expand to more than just demos. With the full support of retail stores and shops, users could complete transactions in the native app and as such have access to features like Android Pay.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: