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Google Will Give You Instant Access to Android Apps

Google wants to get rid of the one roadblock that keeps people from using apps on their Android device — actually installing the app.

The process, called Android Instant Apps, will give you direct access to some of an app's features with a single tap. The idea, Google lead product manager Ellie Powers says, is to better connect Android users with app makers.

Here's how it works. Say a friend texts you a link to a video that's embedded in a specific app. When you tap that link, instead of going to Google Play, your phone will start to fetch the pieces of that app you need to watch that video. When Powers demonstrated the feature during the Google I/O keynote today (May 18), the video started playing instantly.

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There's some serious implications for simplifying online shopping. Powers did a web search for camera bags from a mobile browser. An app maker who takes advantage of Android Instant Apps would be able to produce instantly available links to buy the bag without requiring you to first install an app.

"As a user it's totally seamless for launching apps to signing in to making payments," Powers said.

Most notably, Android Instant Apps will be backward compatible. Powers said it will be compatible with any device running Android Jellybean or later. For most developers, adjusting their apps to work as instant apps will require less than a day of work/

The catch? Android Instant Apps is a ways off from being ready for prime time. Powers says Google is working with a small set of developers to fine tune Android Instant Apps, with access rolling out to other app makers later this year.