​Google I/O: Instant Apps meld mobile web, Android app experiences

At Google I/O, the company takes a big step in balancing the app vs. mobile web experiences. The move could come in handy for businesses.

Google breaks down walls between web and apps

Image: iStock

Piyawan Rujiraumporn

Google is breaking down the walls between web sites and apps in a move that aims to make the two sides of mobile almost interchangeable.

For developers, Google's Instant Apps, which were unveiled at Google's I/O conference, the search giant's move offers some interesting possibilities. For Google, breaking down the silos between apps and Web sites means it can bolster monetization.

Instant Apps will download just the code needed to complete an action without an app installation. Technically these are deep links.

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Here's an Instant App that appears after clicking on a buy button from a site.

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As noted by CNET, Google's Instant Apps aim to do the following:

  • Meld the user experience between web sites and apps;
  • Break apps into components where a person on a web site may get the experience of an app shopping cart without downloading an app;
  • Encourage folks to download an app;
  • Prod developers to make their Android apps modular.

Google's Instant Apps will be a limited preview and then roll out to more developers. The first Instant Apps will appear later in 2016. Instant Apps are enabled via Google Play Services.

Either way the concept of breaking an app interoperable with a web site has a lot of implications for developers and enterprises.

Among the key takeaways:

  1. Businesses will want to make their Android apps modular to shuttle customers from the web to app functionality to close a deal.
  2. Enterprises will want to explore Instant Apps as a way to boost engagement.
  3. These companies should also look into marketing via Google to convert web visitors into app users via Instant Apps.

Bottom line: Melding the web and app experiences is long overdue. Despite the promise of HTML5 there's still a gap between the app and web experiences. Google's biggest challenge will be to make the hopping from web site to app features as seamless as possible. Instant Apps is a good step in the right direction.