Google is one of the tech world’s 800-pound gorillas. There are few people in this country who don’t interact with Google at least once a day. If you’re on the Internet, there’s basically a 100 percent chance some strand of Google’s massive web touches you, whether you’re served ads through DoubleClick, search anything through its ubiquitous search engine, use Gmail, Drive, Docs, etc., there’s almost no way to interact with the Internet in today’s digital landscape without coming into contact with some aspect of Google.
But that’s not good enough for Google. The more information that runs through Google, the more valuable it is as a service and as a company. And one thing threatening Google’s preeminence?
Even though Google makes some of the best and most productive apps out there, the app ecosystem is currently less than hospitable to Google’s core business. If you’re looking for a cheap flight on your phone, you’re far more likely to go to Kayak’s mobile app than you are to open a browser, search via Google and then book through a mobile browser.
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I haven’t interviewed anyone from Google, but I’m pretty comfortable saying: “Google doesn’t like that.”
Google’s response? Stream the apps…
To quote Business Insider:
The company has recruited a select group of apps to allow all of their content to be searchable and “streamable” when people Google something on their smartphone.
For example, if you search for “Hotels in Chicago,” Google will now be able to pull app-only content from HotelTonight. Previously, Google could only show information from apps that had matching web content.
And not only that, but you’ll also be able to “stream” that content, allowing you to access it without downloading the app. In the case of HotelTonight, you’d be able to find a hotel and book it, without downloading the actual app, which previously wasn’t possible.
Now, if you search for something via Google on your smartphone, it can now pull app specific content. What’s better, all that content is centralized in one experience, giving users access to multiple apps’ content in one place.
It gets even better for mobile users… The Google executive in charge of app streaming, Rajan Patel, explained to TechCrunch that the streamable apps run on “virtual machines on Google’s cloud platform.” That means you save space on your phone not having to download the apps. Plus, Google’s “virtual machines” take care of the processing, so all your phone has to do is display the results of the computing rather than pulling data over the internet then processing it. In areas with fast Internet connections, this could result in faster usable information for users everywhere.
Whether or not Google will strike gold with this business model is tough to say. But, it could provide an interesting and highly useful model for enterprise computing in the future. Instead of pushing a bundle of enterprise apps to individual phones throughout your enterprise, you could centralize the computing and app experiences into your backend servers and then “stream” the apps to individual devices through a process similar to Google’s.
This might not happen tomorrow, but it’s a model worth watching in the future of enterprise mobility.