That’s a headline I never thought I’d be writing; Google’s already making inroads into content locked within apps, enabling in-app indexing of content a couple of years ago. This allows Google search results to link directly to content within an app, rather than just pointing you to the front screen of said app.
However, what if there would be suitable content within an app, but you don’t actually have that app installed? Up until now, Google’s in-app search indexing would only return results if two conditions were met, namely that the data existed on the web somewhere as well, and that you had the app installed (or were prepared to install it) to access it.
Well, that ends today. Not only will Google show search results that exist only inside apps, but it will do so whether you have the app installed or not. Google have prepared an example of how this will look using an app called HotelTonight, and we have to say it looks damned cool:
As you can see, and expect, this feature is very much limited at the moment. Google has worked with a few partners so far to test it out, including HotelTonight, Chimani, Daily Horoscope and the New York Subway app. As this no doubt requires a bit of work on behalf of the app developers as well, this feature might see somewhat limited adoption, but it is incredibly cool.
One of the limitations is that it only works on WiFi at the moment, which makes some sense. While the full version of the app isn’t streamed to your device, a stream-optimised version is, which could still be a bit too big for some restrictive data plans.
The good thing, though, is that once the app is streamed, you can use it just like you would the normal app; you can (in the case of HotelTonight) find the hotel you want, complete your booking and pop in your reservation details.