The Tech Bet

Google now lets users stream apps before downloads

Did Google make a breakthrough in apps?
Did Google make a breakthrough in apps?

Google just unveiled technology that allows Android users to stream apps without downloading them first.

The tech giant remains the king of Internet search, but Google faces a problem in the mobile world: apps. Mobile users rely on apps more than the Web, and that means spending less time searching on the mobile Web. Google wants to change that.

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In a post Wednesday on its "Inside Search" blog, Google's engineering manager wrote: "Because we recognize that there's a lot of great content that lives only in apps, starting today, we'll be able to show some 'app-first' content in Search as well. For example, if you need a hotel for your spur-of-the-moment trip to Chicago, search results will now include results from the HotelTonight app."

An employee demonstrates a Motorola Moto E android smartphone in the Lenovo Group Ltd. pavilion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to The Wall Street Journal, the service acts like a streaming interactive video, which requires a strong Wi-Fi connection.

The "app-first" service works for a handful of companies, such as Hotel Tonight, Chimani, Daily Horoscope or the New York MTA Subway Map.