Google has rolled out an update for Android users that links Web searches to apps on your device, as long as they hold the information you’re looking for, obviously.
By way of illustration, consider a movie-based search you might make on your Android smartphone.
“A task as simple as choosing a movie to see can actually be complex – and the information you want can be in several different places, often in apps,” Google’s vice president of engineering, Scott Huffman, wrote in a blog post announcing the update. “You might get your trivia from IMDb, the box office stats from Wikipedia and ratings from Rotten Tomatoes. Starting today, Google can save you the digging for information in the dozens of apps you use every day, and get you right where you need to go in those apps with a single search.”
So when you look for something on Google Search, as well as on Chrome and Android browsers, you’ll start to see an ‘open in app’ button appearing alongside some of the results – providing you already have the app installed.
This ‘open in app’ feature is currently supported by 13 apps (AllTrails, Allthecooks, Beautylish, Etsy, Expedia, Flixster, Healthtap, IMDb, Moviefone, Newegg, OpenTable, Trulia, and Wikipedia), with more on the way.
In addition, if you’re on the hunt for a certain kind of app, a search on the type of app you’re looking for, together with the word “apps”, will pull up a list of suggestions in the usual way, but now results will include a ‘free’ or price button alongside each suggested app which, if tapped on, will take you directly to the Play store where you can learn more and, if you wish, download it.
Even though many popular sites now have a perfectly decent mobile-optimized Web presence, the app experience is often smoother and better presented, so if the information you’re looking for is held by an app, and you have it on your device, Google will offer to take you there.
A couple of points to note – the new feature currently only works for US-based users with devices running Android 2.3 or above. Also, you’ll need to be signed in to your Google account so the feature knows which apps you already have on your device.