You can now use Android apps without ever having to install them [VIDEO]


Remember when we told you guys about a feature Google first showed as a technical demo of how an app could run without a user having to install it? It’s useful for those times when you want to share content with someone from an app and they don’t have the app installed, or if you want to preview an app before installing it.

Well, Google’s been working on it for quite some time, and they hit us with an update on their progress at Google I/O. They’re calling it Android Instant Apps, and as they’ve shown before, when a user clicks a link to content that exists within an Android app, they could be taken to that content in app form even if that app isn’t installed. The difference is it’s a LOT faster now, as Google has used a technique which only pulls the code they need to show you the part of the app you’re being taken to.

Why is this useful? For one, it ensures the content being shown is presented in the most appropriate way for a mobile device. Sure, there are mobile sites, but Android apps are rich with automatic videos, mobile-specific controls for inputting information on forms, and more.

But even more exciting is the ability to enable user-friendly interfaces for objects in the real world without the user having to download and install anything. For instance, accessing an app for your city’s transit system could be done by tapping your phone against the admission terminal. This would bring up an app where you refill your transit card with enough credit to travel wherever you need to go.

You don’t need to install an app or anything — just tap and use. It’s much of the same thing that Google is looking to enable with the physical web. In fact, we’d be surprised if this isn’t an indirect implementation of that.

And you won’t have to buy a new phone or rely on getting your current one updated, either. This thing will be available for anyone on Android Jelly Bean or higher as part of a Google Play Services update. Talk about the ultimate convenience. Developers looking to implement Instant Apps in their apps can find out more right here, while users can stay on the look out for it at some point later this year.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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