Android Instant Apps are now one step closer to reality after Google started their pilot testing.
These new kinds of apps are meant to help bridge the gap between web apps and native apps. The idea is to break native apps into very small packets that, because they are so small, can run almost instantly — and without having to go to an app store — when you tap on a URL.
According to Tech Crunch, Google says that it has been working with a small number of developers to test the user and developer experience over the last few months. The result is a limited test that includes apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki.
“Instant Apps is really about re-thinking where apps are going,” Google VP of Engineering for Android Dave Burke told me when the company announced Instant Apps last year. “Web pages are ephemeral. They appear, you use them, and never think about them again.” Installing apps, on the other hand, comes with a lot of friction and users often only want to perform a single action or get a specific piece of information (say pay for parking with an app in a city you don’t often travel to). Ideally, Instant Apps gives you the speed of a light web page with all of the benefits of a native app.