• February 2, 2016
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Google Will Stream Mobile App Content

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Many mobile device apps contain valuable information, but much of it exists in a vacuum—available only to those who have the app. This is about to change, though, as Google plans to make this content searchable.

In late November, Google began a program that enables users of its Android phones to stream mobile app content without downloading the apps. Because the participating developers in the program run their mobile apps through Google’s cloud platform, the information contained within them can appear in Google search results.

Some of the original apps included in the Google pilot are Hotel Tonight, Weather, and Gormey (a res­tau­rant finder).

The service is available only for Android devices in the United States for now. Google is testing it with American Android users before committing to a larger rollout to iOS devices and other countries.

Google says the app streaming service will enable companies to engage more consumers; in a blog post, the company asserted that one out of every four installed apps is never used and that the app streaming service would give companies like Hotel Tonight a way to increase brand exposure.

By allowing mobile users to access in-app content through its search engine, the company hopes that people will continue using Google search on their smartphones—a platform where Google has seen declines, thanks to mobile virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana—which, in turn, will keep Google's mobile ad revenue coming in.

More ad revenue is really at the center of this move by Google, many suspect. Streaming apps can lead to more advertising opportunities—Google's "bread and butter," according to Brent Leary, managing partner at CRM Essentials.

Google also unveiled two offerings on December 3 that will make mobile advertising more interactive. The first, called Trial Run Ads, will enable mobile consumers to play games for up to 60 seconds by streaming content to their phones prior to downloading it. The second, called Interactive Interstitials, will enable mobile phone users to swipe and touch ad components to unlock additional content. Online fashion and shoe retailer Zalora, an early tester, built an ad that allowed users to swipe to discover an exclusive offer.

Both mobile advertising offerings, which are currently in beta testing, will lead to more relevant ad clicks, more app downloads, and more prequalified app users, Google said in a blog post introducing the products. 

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