Today, Google announced some changes to its Google Play Store. The biggest of which will add a new method for people to try apps without going through the process of installing them first. The new feature leverages Google’s Android Instant Apps functionality that was introduced last year.
So, what’s the difference between a native app and an instant app? Instant apps launch by pressing a link or a button and bringing up an app’s UI. This is done by developers dividing up their apps into much smaller parts so they can load within seconds. The load-as-you-go technique can lighten the load on those with slower or metered data plans. Once you’re done with an Instant App, you can close it and move on like it was never there in the first place. Native apps, like those you’d traditionally download from the Play Store, are a bigger data commitment. But once you download them onto your device, they’re not going anywhere unless you delete them, unlike an instant app.
The Instant Apps technology has been around since Google’s I/O conference last year, but only a few developers have had access to it. At Google I/o 2017 this year, Google announced that all developers now have access to the technology, but you’d be forgiven if you haven’t seen one yet. That lack of progress is seemingly why Google is now adding the “Try it Now” button to the Play Store. A little more love on Google’s side could explode the popularity of Instant Apps.
There’s currently a smattering of apps you can you try out now. Once you hit the link below, you’ll be taken to the Play Store where you can try apps from Hollar, Skyscanner, BuzzFeed, Onefootball Live, Red Bull TV, dotlooop, ShareThe Meal, and our favorite — The New York Time Crossword Puzzle.