Google, the world’s top-notch web browser, has recently announced a number of changes to its Play Store. One of which includes the revamp of Editor’s Choice section. A new home for Games featuring trailers and screenshots of different bits of gameplay has also been introduced in the Play Store. But the most notable change is the addition of Google Instant Apps (also known as Android Instant Apps) that come with a ‘Try it Now’ button. Google Instant Apps is basically a feature that supports the instant apps technology where users can try the apps without having to install them first on their device.
In fact, Google has been working on the Instant Apps technology for a while now. Last year, Google introduced Instant Apps at an I/O developer conference and only allowed the select developers to test this feature. When developers were able to instantly download the apps by simply tapping the URL and not having to download them in full, Google decided to launch the Instant Apps officially to its Play Store.
What are Google Instant Apps?
The Instant Apps were officially released in May 2017 which was again announced at Google I/O 2017 but they were not yet added to the Play Store. Last week, Instant Apps have been made a part of the Play Store and they come with a ‘Try it Now’ button. By using this feature, users can start using an app without installing it on their device. The instant app download is not required at all. In fact, Instant Apps appear and operate just like normal apps that are already installed on your phone but you just don’t need to go through any downloading process.
Next Step in the App Evolution
The Google team must be swelling with pride by introducing Instant Apps for their users because these apps are definitely a next step in the app evolution. This universal Android feature brings the speed and power of a regular app with the ease and immediacy of a web app. This feature is definitely going to help a lot of users. There are times when you do not feel like downloading and installing an app right away even if you’ve read good reviews about it. With the Instant Apps, Google bestows you an opportunity to test an app without having to install it first on your device.
How Do Google Instant Apps Work?
Using instant apps is quite convenient. In fact, they work just like other apps you’ve installed on your mobile phone. The only difference is that you do not have to download them. Using an Instant App is similar to browsing on your web page. Once you’ve tried and tested the app, you can close the app’s window. Once the window is closed, everything disappears. So, Instant Apps are only short-lived and do not live on your phone like other apps.
To start using Instant Apps, you need to enable them for your account on your device. For enabling them, head over to the Settings of your device and look for your Google Account settings. Once you’ve found the Google Account settings, scroll down until you come across Instant Apps. Here you will switch the toggle on and then tap ‘Yes I’m in’ when it appears on the next screen.
Difference Between Instant Apps and Normal Apps
Though Instant Apps offer the same experience a regular app would but there are a few telltale signs that distinguish the two. Firstly, the Instant Apps come with a link to download the full app which is present at the top of the screen. Secondly, when you open an Instant App in the browser, the address bar or the URL will immediately disappear when you click an ‘Instant’ link. These two telltale signs are enough for you to differentiate an Instant App from the regular app.
The Key Features
One of the major features of using Instant Apps is that they are shareable. For instance, if you come across an article on the Buzzfeed Instant App and want to share it with a friend then you can simply share them the link to that article. Your friend will open the link and head directly into that section of the app where the article is posted even without having to install the app on their device.
Furthermore, you can also see the history of all the Instant Apps you’ve used. To check the history, simply head back to your Google Account Settings and then open the Instant Apps tab.
How to Find Instant Apps?
Evidently, you can find the Google Instant Apps in the Play Store. Simply open the app that supports Instant App function. Here you will find the ‘Try Now’ button next to the ‘Install’ button. Tap ‘Try Now’ button and then wait until you’re taken directly to the instant app.
You may also find an Instant App randomly apart from looking for a specific one in the Play Store. You might receive a link from someone that leads you to an instant app or you could simply look for it on the Google search. In order to test how search works, simply search for an app, for instance, ‘NYT Crossword’ in the Chrome browser installed on your mobile phone and then tap the result that appears with the word ‘instant’ next to it. On opening that particular link, you will be taken to the NYT Crossword app with the ability to work on its mini-puzzle for that day.
Which Instant Apps Are Available Right Now?
For now, only a small collection of Instant Apps have been added to the Play Store. The Instant Apps list includes Skyscanner, BuzzFeed News, Hollar, NYT Crossword, Dotloop, Red Bull TV, Share The Meal, and Onefootball Live Soccer Scores. More apps are expected to join the bandwagon of instant apps technology soon. Imagine having a firsthand experience of an app before rushing into downloading it. Yes, you can have that experience with Instant Apps now.
With Google Instant Apps, Google is trying to bridge the gap between regular apps and web apps. This new feature allows users to test the app on their browsers without having the need to install them first on their device. This saves a lot of time for the users and gives them a quick snapshot into how an app really works. Along with Instant Apps, Google intends to bring more functional changes in its Play Store which will benefit users in the long run.