Google Search Expands Indexing To iOS 9 Apps With Deep Links
As the ‘proxy war’ between Google and Apple continues, the search giant strategizes to bring the web and mobile closer together.
Google has expanded App Indexing — which allows signed-in users to open content from mobile apps directly in Google Search — to iOS 9, making the feature compatible with HTTP deep link standards.
Developers can begin getting their app content into the Search results page on Safari in iOS simply by adding Universal Links to each app, and then integrating with Google’s SDK. On the consumer side, Google expects that iOS users will start seeing app content in Safari by the end of October.
Essentially, users will now be able to find new iOS apps by searching for things like “photo editing” or “word games” and install them directly from the results page, or find in-app content automatically in the search results. This enables a more seamless search and download process, and, importantly, gives Google a leg up in the continuing “arms race” with Apple for control of apps and the mobile web.
As we wrote in September, Apple has carefully cultivated the rise of apps as the preferred mobile experience — and Google decided that if it can’t beat Apple at the app game, it has to join it. In May, the search giant said that its Google Now app, which is available on both its own and Apple’s systems, “understands” the context of 100 million places.
And now, with the App Indexing expansion to both Android and iOS, Google Search is indexing content from the two biggest mobile app platforms. This is a bid to bring the web and mobile closer together —offering users app content via search, promoting apps for developers, and gathering data about how users are accessing information — effectively realigning Google’s mobile strategy with the areas that the tech giant has thus far dominated on the web.