At Google's annual developer conference Google I/O 2016, a lot of exciting new technologies were announced, and although there was no news about self-driving cars or Chromecast, towards the end of the conference the internet giant introduced a new project that could revolutionise the mobile experience as we know it today.
That innovation is Android Instant Apps — an elegant new solution that makes it possible for apps to run instantly on a user's device without the user needing to know what the app is called, access the Google Play app, search for the app and then wait for it to install.
But how is this wizardry possible? Apparently it's all down to modularisation — apps on Google Play are split into modules. So for example, when a user is in an app, such as Facebook, and wants to access video content in another app, Google Play simply installs only the pieces of code it needs to display the videos.
"You update the existing app with the same APIs and the same source codes. You modularise your app, and Google Play downloads only the parts that are needed on the fly. Your app will be just one tap away for over 1 billion people," Ellie Powers, Google's lead product manager told the audience.
This same ability also means that users can quickly locate items they want to buy from a favourite online retailer without needing to download the retailer's shopping app. Instead, Google play downloads details from a shopping site, and you can instantly add the item you want to the shopping cart and check out using Android Pay, which already has your payment details stored, meaning that it takes two taps to buy something, rather than two minutes.
Even better, Android Instant Apps is backwards compatible on devices going all the way back to Android 4.1-4.3 Jelly Bean, enabling apps to open within a single second, as the live demo with a device running Android Kit Kat showed.
"It's a big change in how we think about apps. We'll be gradually rolling out access and instant apps to users over this year. We're really excited and we can't wait to see what you will build," said Powers.