Google updates Search app, enables in-app searches

The new feature means participating apps can accept search terms straight from Google Search, integrating Google's features deeper into the ecosystem.

Google is adding further features to its mobile search application in Android, linking search results with mobile apps that may be relevant.

An example on its Android blog shows how a search for a movie would bring up IMDB as a result, but now also give users the option to jump straight into their installed IMDB app and retrieve the full results in that manner. This means that users should be able to go to Google Search, and have their search string passed straight to an app at the touch of a button, rather than only receive web results, or have to open the correct app and re-start their search.

The addition of a separate button on Google Search results extends to searches for specific applications also, allowing users to look for applications directly from Google Search rather than needing to open the Google Play store itself.

App developers that wish to use the new feature need to add "intent filters" to their application in order to tell Google Search how it should direct the user within their application, or what to do with the search term. They will also need to sign up to have their app indexed by the web giant, similar to how in the early days of the internet, webmasters needed to contact search engines to have their pages listed.

Similar functionality is already making its way throughout Google's Gmail results. By using schemas to define or tag specific information in an email, businesses are able to create clickable "actions" in user inboxes that will take their customers directly to a relevant page. Businesses are currently required to register with Google to roll this out to customers, but in-house testing can already start today.

Examples of actions might include a user receiving an emailed receipt for an online purchase. If the right information is tagged, an action button could be included inline that will take the user to the tracking page without them needing to open the email.

It is a similar process that is currently used to scrape information from emails so that they appear in Google Now as contextual cards. However, in the case of Google Now, businesses will not yet see this information show up on devices unless they submit a request to integrate with Google Now.