Google has announced a major update to Google Search for Android that adds app listings to its search results.
If a user is searching on an Android device for a particular word or phrase, results from relevant apps such as games or news readers will appear in the list of matches alongside ‘normal’ matches. If the user is signed in to their Google Account, they’ll see links to apps they own.
The apps will appear either saying ‘open in app’ for apps already on the device, or as a list in the Google Play store to buy and download.
The Open in app feature is currently supported for the following apps: AllTrails, Allthecooks, Beautylish, Etsy, Expedia, Flixster, Healthtap, IMDb, Moviefone, Newegg, OpenTable, Trulia, and Wikipedia. What’s of interest to developers is the fact that Google is currently working with app developers to get additional apps added to search results.
Google also says app listings that match the search results will show up directly in Chrome and Android browsers even if the Google Search app isn’t present.
In a blog post about the update on the Official Android Blog, Scott Huffman, VP of Engineering, says:
“A task as simple as choosing a movie to see can actually be complex — and the information you want can be in several different places, often in apps. You might get your trivia from IMDb, the box office stats from Wikipedia and ratings from Rotten Tomatoes. Starting today, Google can save you the digging for information in the dozens of apps you use every day, and get you right where you need to go in those apps with a single search. Google Search can make your life a little easier by fetching the answer you need for you — whether it’s on the web, or buried in an app.”
If you’re a developer who wants to add support for the new feature for your app, the first thing to do is to add deep link support to it, and to update your website’s sitemap to add app deep links, either directly or through Webmaster Tools. App Indexing for Google Search gives technical details of how to do both steps.