Saturday, October 21, 2017

Google Is Rolling Out Instant Apps With A Try Now Button On Play Store

 

Google unveiled Android Instant Apps back at Google I/O 2016, finally Google introducing it to the public. Hit the link at the end and you will land on a list of app within the Play Store that already support the technology and thus have a new "Try Now" button. When you press the button, it will launch the app without the traditional install process.





To expirience this you need to have recent Android OS: Android 5.0 (API level 21) through Android 8.0 (API level 26). Support for the feature also needs to be enabled from the Google settings interface on the device. And still if you don't see the "Try Now" button, it can be due to market limitations or slow staged rollout because this feature is still rolling out.

Soon we will see more Instant Apps, since adapting an existing app to use the technology is a fairly easy process and the end result has massive potential benefits. If you are not familiar with the technology, you can sort of view Instant Apps as a way to "stream" Android applications. The idea is that you don't necessarily need to store an app locally on your device for it to work. Instead, Google is experimenting with a much more flexible design model, where a user would only be presented with parts of an app that are relevant to his current activity.

In this early Play Store test scenario the "Try Now" button only pulls in certain segments of the app or game, sort of like a "lite" version. Then, as you progress in its functionality, you can gradually pull more parts of it in, as needed. Alternatively, this could be used to create efficient "demo" versions with limited functionality. Or a better way to refund purchases you reconsider, without worrying about app resources left on the client device and potential hacking attacks.

This feature can really help in closing the line between interactive web content and efficient native applications. Instant apps and more specifically, the right interfaces and components can be called upon from any URL, including search results, social media, messaging and various deep links. So, you could be browsing an article, then click on a link to an embedded social media post and have it actually open in a native Android app environment, with all its extending functionality, without ever installing anything. Or even click on a link to instantly start up a full Android game and join a multiplayer session, all with zero extra setup steps.

The Instant Apps platform holds great promise, so we definitely encourage you to give it a try and share your thoughts in the comments.