Access Google’s Instant Apps on your Android phone
Google’s Instant Apps program, which allows users to access apps and games on their mobile browser, even if they are not installed on the smartphone, is now available to Android users in over 40 countries.
The feature was initially available only on Google’s Pixel and Nexus range of devices, but is now available on all devices running Android 6.0 or higher. Google is working on expanding support for Android 5.0 as well, but that is still to come.
What makes Instant Apps different from a mobile website is that it delivers a more app-like design and experience. This opens an enormous opportunity for both users and developers to connect. Users get to try out new apps and games in their original form without having to install them, while lesser known developers get the chance to promote key features of an app they have made. A lot of users avoid installing new apps from lesser known developers to steer clear of potentially harmful content.
To access Instant Apps, users need to activate the feature in Google settings.
Go to Settings and select Google, then scroll down the next page until you find Instant Apps. If you don’t see it, that means the feature is still not available on your device. If you see it, switch on the Instant Apps toggle button and accept the terms of service (Settings->Google->Instant apps).
Once the program is enabled on your device, you will see an “Instant” icon next to supported apps on the web browser. Tapping on the instant icon will redirect users to the Instant App page instead of taking them to the landing page on the Google Play Store. Instant Apps have five times smaller footprint than regular apps. For example, Vimeo’s app takes up 20MB, while its instant app uses up only 4MB of space.
It can also come in handy for users who do not have a lot of storage space to spare. Even the most basic app occupies 30-50MB after installation.
The other interesting feature of Instant Apps is that it allows app developers to customise their apps in such a way that users can download and access only a part of the Instant Apps. It has already helped a number of app developers. According to popular football news website OneFootball, its total user engagement has gone up by 55% since they released their Instant Apps version in May. Similarly, Vimeo claims a 130% increase in session duration after launching the Instant App version. Periscope, Vimeo, NYT Crossword, OneFootball, Buzzfeed, Viki and Realtor.com are some of the popular platforms which have Instant Apps versions.
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