Android Instant Apps are about to roll out but get early access by following these steps in Android Nougat 7.1.1 or 7.1.2.
- Tap the gear icon to access your settings.
- Scroll down and tap on Google in the Personal section.
- Tap Instant Apps under the Services section.
- Tap the toggle to turn Instant Apps on and agree to the prompted terms of service.
It’s not totally clear which users have access to turn this option on but it has worked on some Pixel and Nexus 6p phones running current version of Nougat. Google announced that this initiative is in the testing phase so access is not guaranteed. Instant Apps are basically streaming versions of your favorite apps that lets you experience native app functionality without pre-downloading it from the Google Play Store. There are currently four apps that are supported including Buzzfeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki but Google has said that there are many more to come. If you’re lucky enough to see the option to enable Instant Apps, you can then simply do a Google search for one of the supported apps and see Instant Apps in action.
The benefit of Instant Apps is that you don’t have to download the app ahead of time to experience the full set of features. This is particularly important for utility and shopping apps because users don’t have to worry about downloading a ton of apps just in case they want to buy something or book a hotel randomly. The streaming apps are going to be shown in Google search results, giving the user the option to use the Instant version or to download the app from the Play Store. It will also benefit app developers who are often burdened with getting users to download and keep their apps on their phones. This can be a real struggle and Instant Apps looks to solve some of that pain by making app usage more like the mobile web.