Google has bought a startup called Agawi which allows users to stream applications and use them, much like we stream videos, before actually purchasing them, reports the Information (warning paywall) and was subsequently confirmed by TechCrunch. In addition to streaming Android apps, Agawi can stream Windows PC games to an Android or iOS handset as well as connected TVs.
The acquisition gains importance as The Information points out that Google wants to control search on the mobile web. With the Agawi’s technology, Google wants to make could be to make the mobile web more app-like and specifically get users away from downloading apps in order to enjoy content. The move makes sense considering that Google’s main source of revenues comes from searches and the ads it displays against them. “One way Google could use Agawi’s technology could be enhance how app search in Google works. Its streaming technology could be used to let people search for and then preview apps before downloading them,” TechCrunch points out.
Google on its part has been enhancing its search capabilities within apps by other means and has been integrating third party applications into Google Now, its personal assistant application on mobile devices. Google Now cards now displays information from 110 applications and recently added RunKeeper, Jawbone, Feedly, Gaana, Kotak Mahindra Bank, mIndicator (Mumbai local trains), Cleartrip, Wynk and Quikr among others.
Google’s other mobile web initiatives
– Earlier this month, Google said that will start rolling out a new feature in India to speed up web pages. Websites on mobile Chrome will get a ‘Network Quality Estimator’ (NQE), which will analyse the user’s network connection in order to optimise search results and subsequent landing web pages to load faster, giving higher priority to text and information over data-intensive images. The NQE will, in effect, change the rendering of web pages on a slow connection in order to make the web pages usable and fast.
– Google is looking to add a buy button on its search results pages for products on mobile devices. The button will appear next to sponsored or paid search results, which are usually on the top of the page, and will be displayed under “Shop on Google”. If users click on the buy button, they will be redirected to another Google product page where they will be able to complete the purchase and be able to pick colours, sizes and shipping options.
– In May, Google integrated tweets into its search results on smartphones. Google will get broader access to tweets every minute for this feature, which Google has used to start displaying relevant tweets when users search for certain trending topics. This feature is currently running on a trial basis. It does not seem to be live in India yet.