Google’s latest experiment will let you install Android apps on your favorite phone – directly from your search results.
It’s pretty common to see Google tweak things in its search pages. They’ve gotten better at extracting information from pages you might be searching for, so you can go to Google, search for “the capital of Bolivia,” say, and instead of having to choose a webpage, there’ll be a box with the results at the top of the window.
The capital is Sucre, by the way.
Now it seems as if the search giant is playing around with integrating app installations, too. If you search for an app from your Android device, you might see a tweaked results page that draws on some of the Play Store frameworks. The installing-an-app-from-search-results-thing started several weeks ago, according to AndroidPolice, but it seems that Google has decided to roll the feature out to a wider audience.Unfortunately, you can’t just open up Chrome, search for an app, and expect to install it. Instead, you’re limited to results achieved via the Google app – but that includes using the built-in search bar, or the “Okay, Google” voice command.
Normally when you search for an Android app with Google, you’ll see a summary of the Play Store listing at the top of the page, along with an icon and an install button. Most of the time, clicking on the install button will just open the Play Store to that app’s listing.
If your device has been updated with this new process, however, tapping on the install button will pop up a Play Store box over top of your search results, just like what would happen if you clicked install from inside Google’s app store.
It’s a neat integration, and although it’ll only save a few seconds each time you use it, those seconds add up. It’s unlikely we’ll see Apple take steps to enable similar functionality on iOS, as that would mix Apple branding with Google’s search results – a schism that doesn’t occur on Android.