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Pabak Sarkar / flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

Google will now let you stream apps without downloading them

Netflix but for apps.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Nov 18, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 3:20 pm CDT

Google is beginning to stream apps on your phone, moving its search feature one step closer to embedding all the information you need right in its results instead of taking you off site. 

Following two years of indexing the content of apps, Google has collected over 100 billion deep links into apps—many of which already surface in search results from Android devices. However, until now, those results would only appear if the app was installed on your phone or there was an accompanying website that also had that information.

Starting Wednesday, Google will give users access to information that was previously tucked away in apps by streaming apps on Android devices. If you’re in need of a hotel and you need it quick, Google will allow you to stream Hotel Tonight, giving you access to the information that you need from the app without requiring you to wait for it to download and install.

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By utilizing cloud-based technology and its massive database of deep links, Google is able to recreate the entire app experience without requiring installation. The streaming feature will be available for nine apps off the bat: Hotel Tonight, Weather, Chimani, Gormey, My Horoscope, Visual Anatomy Free, Useful Knots, Daily Horoscope, and New York Subway.

For now, Google is limiting its Netflix-for-apps-style service to phones in the United States running Android 6.0 Lollipop or higher and are connected to a Wi-Fi signal. The company plans on continuing to expand the service to future apps.

Right now, mobile apps a bit like the websites on the early days of the Internet—useful and full of unique information, but not always widely accessible. Google helped fix that problem for the Web once before—deep linking and streaming appear to be the search giant’s attempt to make lightning strike twice.

Photo via Pabak Sarkar/Flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Nov 18, 2015, 8:38 pm CST