We started indexing the content of apps two years ago, so that when people search on Google, they can find the best results whether they’re in an app or on the web. We now have over 100 billion deep links into apps in our index — including some popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb or Pinterest — and 40% of searches people do on Android surface app content.
But up until now, Google has only been able to show information from apps that have matching web content. Because we recognize that there’s a lot of great content that lives only in apps, starting today, we’ll be able to show some “app-first” content in Search as well. For example, if you need a hotel for your spur-of-the-moment trip to Chicago, search results will now include results from the HotelTonight app. Or if you’re thinking about visiting Arches National Park, you will now find details about the 18-mile scenic drive from the Chimani app.
In addition, you’re also going to start seeing an option to “stream” some apps you don’t have installed, right from Google Search, provided you’re on good Wifi. For example, with one tap on a “Stream” button next to the HotelTonight app result, you’ll get a streamed version of the app, so that you can quickly and easily find what you need, and even complete a booking, just as if you were in the app itself. And if you like what you see, installing it is just a click away. This uses a new cloud-based technology that we’re currently experimenting with.
We’re exploring both of these new ways to show you great “app-first” content from a small group of partners, such as HotelTonight, Chimani, Daily Horoscope or New York MTA Subway Map — stay tuned for more as we expand this!
Posted by Jennifer Lin, Engineering Manager