Google Starts Live Testing Android Instant Apps, No Install Required

Maybe I am in the minority, but whenever I encounter an application in Windows that runs without first needing to be installed (CPU-Z, for example) I get a cheap thrill. These programs are not planting their hooks in Windows or littering the registry with entries that will never be fully cleaned up, nor is a reboot required. I like that. A similar experience is currently being tested on Android in the form of Instant Apps.

This is something that Google previewed at Google I/O last year. It is a new way to run Android apps, one that does not require any installation, but are still immersive. They work just like a regular app and are compatible with most Android devices that use Google Play services. They even use the same Android API, so developers can upgrade their existing apps to run without installation rather than have to build a separate app.

Instant Apps

"We’ve been working with a small number of developers to refine the user and developer experiences. Today, a few of these Instant Apps will be available to Android users for the first time in a limited test, including apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki. By collecting user feedback and iterating on the product, we’ll be able to expand the experience to more apps and more users," said Aurash Mahbod, a Google Play software engineer.

Part of the process for developers who want to upgrade their apps to run on-the-fly is removing unneeded bulk, things such as unknown/unused permissions, unused components, unneeded third-party dependencies, and so forth. They also require a series of other preparations, which Google outlines on its developers portal.

"The effort involved varies depending on how your app is currently structured. You modularize your app, and Google Play downloads only the parts that are needed, on the fly," Google explains.

A full SDK for Instant Apps will be made available in the coming months. For developers who to get a head start, Google is accepting applications for early access to its Instant Apps documentation. Anyone interested can go here and submit their information for consideration.