Google Inc. is testing a new way for consumers to download apps directly from its Google Search app and bypass the Google Play app store, Google confirmed.

If consumers open the Google Search app on their smartphones—not the Google Chrome web browser—and search for an app, such as “TripAdvisor,” or “United Airlines,” the app shows up in the search results. If a consumer types in the exact name of a brand or app, even without the word “app,” the app install will show up in search results. Until now, a consumer would then tap “Install” and Google would take him to that app’s install page in the Google Play store.

Now, Google is experimenting with cutting out a step in this install process. When a consumer hits “Install” in the Search app an overlay screen will pop up showing all the features the app needs access to, just as Google Play would when a consumer downloads an app. The consumer hits “accept” and the app will download the app, all within the Google Search app, without redirecting the consumer to the Play Store.

“We’re always experimenting with ways to provide the best search results and help you find the content you need as easily as possible,” a Google spokeswoman says, confirming the test.

The test is with an unknown number of consumers using the Android smartphone operating system, according to reports.


Google’s change will boost app downloads since it will now be easier to download an app, says Sam Cinquegrani, CEO and founder of ObjectWave, a digital marketing technology and services company.

“Whenever you make something more accessible, it increases volumes,” Cinquegrani says.

Other mobile experts agree that app downloads will increase because of the new added convenience. However, having app prioritization in search results introduces a new element to search engine optimization, which businesses will need to pay attention to, says Greg Portell, a partner in the communications media and technology practice of A.T. Kearney, a global strategy and management consulting firm.

“True, it gives companies avenues to more quickly convert interest to app downloads.  However, this is only true for those that figure out how to best manage the SEO (so that their apps appear in mobile search results),” Portell says.

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