What is Instant Apps?
Instant Apps are the next step in app evolution, a universal Android solution that brings the speed and power of a native app with the ease and immediacy of a web app. They look and operate just like one of the apps that are installed on your phone, but you don’t need to download anything.
Native Android apps, without the installation With Google Play Instant, people can tap to try an app or game without installing it first. Increase engagement with your Android app and gain more installs by surfacing your instant app across the Play Store, Google Search, social networks, and anywhere you share a link.
Google recently released Instant Apps to developers as part of an effort to help kick off the next big enhancement to the native app experience in Android. Instant Apps aim to help bring users into the best native app experience as quickly as possible by downloading only parts of an application when they need them. This makes it fast and easy to engage users with great mobile app experiences, even though they do not have the application installed on their devices.
Instant Apps are delivered to the user in small feature modules, each containing only the code and resources needed to accomplish a specific action. Instant Apps are triggered by URL intents, meaning that they can be started from anywhere including, search results, social media shares, messages, beacons, NFC and other applications or even other Instant Apps.
Instant Apps share a single code base with the installed APK counterparts and are also distributed via the Google Play Store through the Android Instant Apps section.
Why we using the Instant App?
- It removes a barrier between your app and new users. Installing an application via Google Play isn’t a particularly difficult or time-consuming process, but it’s still the biggest barrier between your app and potential new users. No matter how much time you spend crafting a compelling Google Play page that’ll have the majority of users scrambling for that Install button, some people will always drop out at install time.
- It helps you reach new users. While you’ve always been able to promote your app on various locations around the web, such as your own website, blog or social media, connecting with new users has previously relied on them visiting your app’s Google Play page at some point (with the rare exception of users who prefer to sideload their apps). Instant apps remove this reliance on your app’s Google Play page, by making your application directly accessible from any location that supports URLs, giving you almost unlimited opportunities to connect with new users.
- It ensures that shared content is the best possible advert for your app.A user sharing your app’s content is one of the most effective ways of reaching a new audience, so you’ll want to make a good first impression! Previously, it’s been difficult to provide a consistent experience for users who don’t have your app installed on their device, but instant apps allow you to guarantee a seamless, native experience for everyone.
- Helps users access your app, even in the face of Internet restrictions.While Internet coverage is improving all the time, you may still occasionally struggle to find a fast and reliable network, or perhaps you’re approaching your monthly data allowance and are worried about incurring additional charges. When you’re struggling with a slow or inconsistent Internet connection, downloading an entire app can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, and when you’re in danger of going over your data allowance, downloading a new app may be enough to incur additional charges. All instant app modules must be 4MB or less, so even if downloading an entire app is out of the question, then accessing an instant app module may still be a viable option.
- Increase the appeal of location and time-sensitive apps.While apps that are designed for a specific location or event aren’t a new concept, ask yourself: how likely am I to install an app that I know I’ll only be able to use for a limited period of time, or in a certain location? Instant apps can increase the appeal of time and location-sensitive apps, by allowing the user to access all of your app’s most important functionality at the tap of a URL.
- Wrapping your links with Firebase Dynamic Links guarantees that clicks on links always take users to your instant app.Otherwise, apps can force links to be opened inside an in-app browser instead of an instant app. Firebase Dynamic Links allows you to control the behavior of clicks on links.
- Firebase Dynamic Links allows you to track analytics on events like clicks, first-opens, re-opens, and installs.Dynamic Links events also are recorded in Google Analytics for Firebase.
Restrictions and Limitations
Before we start our instant app journey, it’s worth noting that there are currently a few things that instant apps cannot do:
- Access device identifiers like IMEI and MAC addresses.
- Use background services.
- Perform background notifications.
- Access the device’s external storage.
- Access the list of apps that are installed on the user’s device—unless those applications have specifically made themselves discoverable to instant apps.
In addition, your application must:
- Be available to download for free from the Google Play store.
- Use the new permissions model introduced in Android 6.0 (API level 23). Since the user doesn’t install an instant app, there’s no opportunity to request permissions up front. If your instant app feature module(s) require access to sensitive device capabilities or user information, then you’ll need to request these permissions at runtime.
Google Code Lab
Instant apps complete blog