Google’s App Indexing technology isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to discuss, but so long as the majority of the company’s revenue still comes from search (it does), it is imperative that they figure out how to make their main business work on mobile where the eyeballs are going. So the company announced that today App Indexing is coming to iOS apps, starting with Chrome and Google Search.
If you don’t know how App Indexing works, the image above from the blog post announcing the change should help explain. In layman’s terms, developers can add a couple lines of code to their app which then allow Google to crawl the app and send data back and forth, like the company already does with webpages on the public Internet.
Now if a user is searching Google to get a reservation to a specific restaurant and OpenTable can book it, for example, clicking the link in Google Search for iOS may bump the user over to the restaurant’s information page in the OpenTable app so long as they have it installed.
If the recent Goldman Sachs analysis quoted by The New York Times of Google’s search business is accurate and 75% of the company’s mobile search revenue is indeed coming from iOS, it’s easy to see how any change like this is incredibly important for Google. Much to the chagrin of web developers like myself, native apps can more often than not provide a much better experience than the mobile web.
By adding deep App Indexing to its iOS apps, Google can potentially decrease load times and frustration caused by slow-loading, graphic intensive, ad-ridden mobile websites. Remember, Google makes the most money when it can prove its ROI for advertisers. Users dropping off due to pains like the ones I mentioned is not good for the company.
App Indexing is rolling out with a small group of test users initially, but the company is working on making it available to more developers as soon as possible. Developers can, however, implement App Indexing starting today and be ready when Google begins allowing more developers deep links to show up in search results. They’ve provided more information on how to do so in their blog post.