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Google’s Instant Apps allows you to use apps without installing them

Why it matters to you

We've all installed apps we only intended to use once -- Instant Apps means you can use those apps without installing them on your phone.

Google is finally getting started with Amazon’s Instant Apps. The company is rolling out a limited test run and says that users can try out “a few” Instant Apps now, including BuzzFeed, Periscope, and Wish. The goal is to collect feedback about the apps and eventually the experience will be rolled out to more apps and users.

Instant Apps were first unveiled at Google I/O 2016 in May and are basically a smaller version of a full Android app, and can launch on your phone without needing to be installed. Once the app is closed, it’s basically gone from your phone and there is no app icon on your home screen to launch.

So what is the point of Instant Apps? Well, when they were first unveiled, Google mentioned they would be helpful when you want to use an app that you might never use again — without having to install that app, then use it, then uninstall it again or keep an unused app on your phone.

Google also mentioned at the time that around “half a dozen” partners had signed up to use Instant Apps — Buzzfeed, B&H Photo Video, Medium, Hotel Tonight, Zumper, and Disney. Since then, the partner list seems to have changed a little and BuzzFeed is the only original partner that is on the launch list. Google has said that there is interest from “thousands of developers” for these apps.

It is about time that Google is testing the new feature. In May, Google promised that we would see the feature by the end of 2016, so it’s almost a month late with these tests. According to Google, full Android Instant Apps software developer kits will be available in “coming months.”