You can now stream Android apps through Google Search

woman uses an android smartphone
bloomua/123rf
Google has announced users will now be able to stream in-app search results on its mobile search app. When the in-app search result is clicked, Google will stream the app to the Android device, letting users browse the native experience.

The new function should, in theory, let users book a taxi, plan a holiday or watch a video without downloading the associated app. Early test results show that streaming apps does work, however it is slower than the downloaded version.

“Because we recognize that there’s a lot of great content that lives only in apps, starting today, we’ll be able to show some “app-first” content in Search as well,” said Google in its related Blogspot announcement. “In addition, you’re also going to start seeing an option to ‘stream’ some apps you don’t have installed, right from Google Search, provided you’re on good Wi-Fi.”

Google currently has nine app developers supporting the beta: Hotel Tonight, Weather, Chimani, Gormey, My Horoscope, Visual Anatomy Free, Useful Knots, Daily Horoscope, and New York Subway. Users need to be updated to Android Lollipop or higher and have a stable Wi-Fi connection to stream an app.

Google is also making “app first” content more accessible on search. This means information stored in mobile apps, which don’t have matching web content, will be shown on Google’s search results. Google has 100 billion deep links into apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, and Pinterest.

Google wants developers to integrate their apps deeper into the search engine, but we suspect larger app developers like Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, and Uber won’t support streaming, at least initially. That’s because it gives Google control over how users view the app, and removes location and notification controls that native apps can utilize.

Adding more app influence does not mean Google is stepping away from the mobile Web. In fact, it recently launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project with Twitter, LinkedIn, Adobe, and a few other contributors to lower webpage load times.

Mobile is Google’s most important platform, with over one billion mobile owners using Google’s own platform, Android. What it needs to do is make sure its search engine remains the default place to find information, instead of the Google Play store.

Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Mobile

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Mobile

OpenTable points can now be used to whittle down cost of a hotel stay

Have some OpenTable Dining Points built up? Now those points can also be used to make your own hotel discounts. OpenTable is teaming up with Kayak to use points as discounts on participating hotels.
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.
Wearables

Check out the four cool Swatch watches you can use for mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.