Google Beta Tests 'Streaming' Android Apps

20 November 2015

Google:

In addition, you’re also going to start seeing an option to “stream” some apps you don’t have installed, right from Google Search, provided you’re on good Wifi. For example, with one tap on a “Stream” button next to the HotelTonight app result, you’ll get a streamed version of the app, so that you can quickly and easily find what you need, and even complete a booking, just as if you were in the app itself. And if you like what you see, installing it is just a click away. This uses a new cloud-based technology that we’re currently experimenting with.

Imagine if opening a new website on your Mac required a significant download/install process before you could access the content. This is one of the biggest benefits the web has over native apps. Google’s new streaming option offers a patchwork remedy to this problem. My understanding is it works like OnLive, the video game streaming service. Essentially, Google servers run the app in question and stream an interactive video feed of the app to your phone or tablet screen. It’s interesting, clever, technology. Like OnLive, I assume this suffers from the same lag and latency issues inherent in a process of sending live video and receiving user input. It’s a decent solution for a quick skim when Google searching but frustrating for anything more serious or long term.

On an infinite timescale, download speeds and compute power will be so fast that downloading apps will be as speedy as opening a webpage.