It is very easy to become reliant on Google -- it is the first port of call for many people looking to check everything from currency exchange rates, cinema listings, restaurant reviews and news. This is certainly the case on desktop computers, but it also rings true for Android devices. You’ve probably built up a little memory muscle yourself. When you want to know more about a movie, do you fire up the IMDB app you installed, or do you instead launch Chrome and perform a regular web search?
Google is only too aware that you probably do the latter, but the search giant is keen to push users into making use of apps. This means not only the apps that they have installed, but also those they are yet to discover. Starting now, Google is rolling out an update to searching that means that in addition to regular search results, you'll also be provided with links to related apps when appropriate.
What does this mean? Suppose you look up the movie that you're watching on TV -- you know, to settle that argument about what other program you've seen that guy in, the one with that woman from that thing... you know who I mean. You launch Chrome as this shortcut is a lot easier to find than IMDB which has become buried on one of your homescreens. Type the name of the movie and Google will provide you with a summary of what it’s about and probably give you a link to the IMDB listing.
But now there's also going to be something extra -- a link to launch the IMDB app (assuming you have it installed) so you can view the same information in a different format and take advantage of the additional features offered by the app. There's scope for linking to other apps such as weather tools, news apps, and more, and this latest move is just another sign of Google wanting to be at the center of your world.
It's not just information related apps that might appear in search results. Games may appear when deemed appropriate as may other types of apps. These are obviously linked to listings from Google Play, but it is not clear whether there will be sponsored apps that gain greater prominence than others. In a post on the official Android blog Scott Huffman, Vice President of Engineering, explains that the new search features are rolling out to the Google Search app, Chrome searches and searches conducted in Android browsers.
So... what do you make of it? Smart move, or irritating infringement?