Apps are amazing, they let you do all sorts of things, from expressing your creativity to ordering lunch. All of this can be done using apps but you have to find the ones you want and install them before you can use their features, and it’s quite common to forget about apps you’ve installed if you try a lot of them. Web apps are browser-based and don’t require installation but may lack in functionality. Google seeks to address this and make web apps fun again with Instant Apps for Android.
Instant Apps is a new feature that Google announced at its I/O 2016 developers conference today. It’s going to plug the gap between mobile apps and web apps by enabling users to use native applications instantly by just tapping a URL even if they don’t have the app installed.
It will eliminate the need for searching for, downloading and installing an application. Instead, developers will package the apps in small partitions that can fire up in mere seconds. The idea with Instant Apps is to make the native app experience as easy as surfing a website.
Google wants these Instant Apps to fire up in the same time that it takes to render a standard mobile web page. One use case that was described during the keynote was paying for parking without knowing what parking app the local municipality uses. Instead of concerning themselves with different apps, users just hold their phone to the parking meter and the built-in NFC chip reads the information and fires up the native parking app instantly.
Users can then pay for parking without even having to download the app, register themselves and then log in. There will be countless such use cases where apps will be quickly launched without needing to be installed and will simply go away like a web page you’ve closed once they’re no longer needed.
It will take some time for Instant Apps to show up since developers will have to add support for this feature, but Google says that they won’t need to completely re-write their apps to support Instant Apps, so it shouldn’t prove to be too time-consuming for developers.