The Google I/O developer conference is well under way, and there have been a huge number of announcements coming out of the conference. Perhaps one of the most interesting announcements, for those who are interested in search and the mobile space, is that Google plans to open up its app indexing program to all Android developers. The app indexing system has been available to selected developers and a very small number of apps for some time now. App indexing facilitates the deep linking of app content from mobile search results, and the feature will be a massive boon for both end users and app developers once it becomes more widely available. App indexing makes in-app content much more discoverable, and makes it easy for users to get to content within their apps. For example, if a user is searching for a restaurant via Google, and the details of that restaurant are available within an app that the user has installed, they can click on a search result and be taken directly to that page of the app instead of having to manually launch the app and perform another search. This saves a lot of time when searching, and in theory means that you can search multiple apps in one go, and simply choose to open the deep page of the app that appears to have the best content. App indexing offers an almost seamless experience for end users. Some app developers feel that the feature is unnecessary, however, and some users agree. For example, food lovers probably open Yelp, OpenTable or even Foursquare to find suggestions for places to go for fine dining, feeling that Google is too much of a jack of all trades to be truly useful. Google hopes that by adding app indexing they will be able to reassert themselves as a market leader in search and a truly universal content delivery platform.
Staying Within the Google Ecosystem
Google wants to keep users within their ecosystem for as long as possible. This is clear with their knowledge graph features, the sheer number of calculations, definitions and other facts that you can collect without leaving the Google home page, and now the addition of search that knows what you have installed on your device. Whether app indexing will take off remains to be seen, however. Some users may simply continue to bypass Google completely.