One of the most fascinating introductions made at the Google I/O developer conference is the Android Instant Apps. According to Google, the new project is simply an innovative way of enabling users to instantly run apps on their devices without the need of first installing them.
The idea of Instant Apps is simple, you just tap on a link associated to an Instant App, the link/ URL directs you to a smaller version of that app rather than the website. Some could say the process is just as fast, if not as faster than having to load up the actual website.
This however does not mean that developers will have to build a secondary app separate from the original. The Instant App features similar Android APIs, source code and project. All developers we’ll need to do is update their already existing Android App to be able to access the Instant Apps functionality; depending on how the app structured, this can take less than a day. Developers can have their apps modularized and Google Play in turn downloads the specific parts that users may need on the fly.
For instance, if they clicked a point on a map, a video, or a payment system, Play Store searches for the app and only downloads the code essential for running the app. Users can enjoy the full app experience from the Instant App and may choose to install the full app version if they are pleased. Once developers have their app upgraded, it will be made available to over a billion Android users, even those running on the Jelly Bean software or later.
Aside from working with a URL, Android Instant Apps also makes use of NFC. This means that in case you come across a certain internet-connected parking meter that makes use of a particular app, rather than launching your Play Store and installing the app on your device to only use it for a short while and then delete it, you can simply install a temporary version of the app directly from the parking meter via NFC.
Users will however need to wait until later this year to take advantage of this feature. Once it launches, the hassle of having to install an app on your already cluttered phone, only to check it out and then uninstall it, will be a thing of the past. Developers will also benefit in that, they won’t have to wait until their apps receive high rankings for users to want to install them, they can simply share the app’s link on social media. For users worried about how secure these Instant Apps URLs will be, Google has confirmed that the instant apps will be directly from their servers and their approval and publishing will be managed by Google Play.