Google is making it easier for people to discover and view content that lives exclusively within apps, without even having to have the apps installed in some cases.
The search giant admits it has made strides when it comes to app indexing, boasting 100 billion deep links into apps in Google’s index.
However, there’s still a lot of great content within apps that doesn’t get surfaced in search because it exists only within the app itself.
Google says it is now able to index and surface content that lives nowhere else but within an app — or at least “some” of that content.
The extent of app-only content being indexed right now was not specified, but the company did give some examples of what it is able to discover now:
“…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.”
As mentioned, in some cases even if you don’t have the app installed you will still be able to view the app-only content. This will be accomplished through Google “streaming” the app.
If this option is available you will see a “Stream” button next to the app result. Tapping on “stream” will allow you to browse through the app content as if it were installed on your phone.
If you like the content enough to install the app, you can also do that with one more tap on the “install” button.
Google says these updates are using an experimental cloud-based technology. At this time, only a handful of app partners are on board, but it is said more will be added as Google continues to expand on this technology.