Google is said to be testing a new feature that allows users to install apps from search results without having to go via the Play Store, according to Android Police.
The new feature, which opens a permissions window and an install button, just as on the Play Store, currently only seems to work when users search the Google app and not via the Chrome browser.
The search giant has for some time now shown links to the Play Store on Android (and to the iOS App Store for iPhone users on Safari). However, this is the first time that users can download and install an app without first having to access via a mobile app store.
It’s not yet clear if the feature will be rolled out to everyone and also be useable with mobile browsers such as Chrome and Safari, and Google has not yet confirmed its plans for the feature. But if it becomes a main Android feature, it could boost the company’s effort to keep search relevant in a landscape that is becoming more and more dominated by mobile apps, something that’s currently cutting off valuable advertising revenue for the firm.
Google would of course prefer mobile users to spend as much of their time on Google services as possible, even if that means installing an app that it doesn’t own.
Meanwhile, Google is said to be making more money from advertising via iOS users than it does with Android itself, and other rivals such as Facebook are increasingly trying to keep users in their apps rather than jumping out to search engines that display Google ads.
SOURCE: Android Police.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.