Google today announced two new initiatives for integrating apps into search results on mobile devices through its Google Search app.
Search for Apps
The first measure allows the Google Search app to recommend apps from Google Play based on your search. You could search for “downhill ski apps” (as we’re all wont to do in summer, right Google?), and Google Search will return specific apps with a link to find more in the Play Store:
This is similar to the existing app suggestions offered in search results when apps happen to crop up, but they’re presented in a more concentrated and useful grouping at the top of your search results. If you’re specifically searching for apps but don’t quite know which app you want, it’s a helpful addition.
Sometimes the best way to present rich content is not on a website but in an app, which is the goal of today’s second new feature – and the one that’s more likely to excite developers. App Indexing adds an “Open in App” button to a search results page where an installed app can handle a link – if a user has that app installed, they can jump straight into it and open the relevant content.
For example, if you run a recipe site with a companion app, you might want to push users who have the app installed straight into the app to display a particular recipe:
Developers wishing to integrating with Google’s App Indexing service need to ensure their app supports Deep Linking and make some changes to their site (Sitemap XML files and/or add some custom tags to pages).
Today’s changes should aid app discoverability and, once a user has installed an app, help them to make better use of it.