By Cris Styris
Google announced the new “In-Apps” application for Android that is a search tab for locating content within applications.
To be concise, the search mode will henceforth be named “In Apps” and can be used by users to search contacts, notes or music on their device applications. Currently, the applications activities are limited to Google applications that are YouTube, Spotify and Gmail, and will shortly extend to popular applications such as LinekedIn and Facebook Messenger.
- How does it work?
In App is an offline feature as it conducts search across the Android device, and not the internet or cloud storage. It is similar to Apple’s Spotlight that allows user to find data directly on the phone. Until now, Google used the Firebase App Indexing to help app developers to facilitate search on Google for online information and be redirected to the application. This type of search allows the user to view app content directly. With In App search, user’s search becomes more focused, as they will only find relevant app information that is stored in their device.
We discuss 4 ways Google’s In-app search will influence Android app development.
- Direct app access
When a user inputs relevant search keyword into In App search, all the offline data that is stored on their device in the application is shown in results. This not only makes the results more concise, it also enables user to open the application and go directly to the feature they are seeking without making multiple inputs.
- Finding Relevant content where it is stored
Often, the content that is being sought is saved in mobile applications and it is unnecessary for user to make a search of the web to find it. In the past Google has made indexing apps for search on the web, with In Apps, this feature has been brought to the limited field of user device. User can search for tasks, messages, multimedia, contacts and other specific app related information at a single point and get faster results. For instance, just like the search feature on WhatsApp, if the user is looking for some specific information, like information shared with a friend on FaceBook Messenger or specific passage of note stored in Evernote, they can find it directly on In- App.
- Deciding which apps In Apps will work on
User has the choice to decide which applications the In App feature will work on. Users also have the choice to add which apps they would like the search feature to extend to by toggling the various apps on or off on the Google App’s Settings. Since, the app will be working offline; user is protected from sharing their data with Google as private information will not be sent to their server. This gives the user more effective control over their personal data and lets them decide what information they would like to share and what they won’t. This is crucial especially in case of sensitive applications such as payment gateways, mCommerce apps and banking applications where user may safely save their finance related details.
- Concentrated Search Efforts
In the past Google has provided a host of Search indexing options that were largely web-dependant. With the new In App search option, they have finally entered a more concentrated search spectrum that gives users greater control over the data. Currently, In App is only available on specific Android devices, but it will soon be rolled out on a larger scale.
Android developers can leverage the benefits of In App search by integrating this Google device feature to their application directly rather than create a separate search feature within their applications. this will create easier access for the user too and help the application to organically blend with the device.