Google Delivers Content From iOS Apps in Mobile Search Results

Google began indexing iOS apps in its search results last week. Mobile app indexing will enhance search results for iPhone and iPad users, the company said.

Google mobile search

Starting this week, iPhone and iPad users who use Google to search for items will get links to content from mobile applications in the results.

The capability, available for about two years on Android, will basically let iOS users view search results, either directly from a Website or through their mobile apps.

For example, when users searches for dinner reservations at their favorite restaurants using their iPhones or iPads, the results might be delivered through the OpenTable restaurant-reservation application, Eli Wald, Google product manager, wrote on the company's Inside Search blog.

Similarly, if a user wanted to buy tickets to a sporting event, the results could include one from the SeatGeek event-ticketing application, Wald said.

Google began indexing iOS applications in its search results last week. With App Indexing, the company's Googlebot crawls and indexes content from mobile applications, just like it does with Websites. Application owners will be able to indicate which content they want Google to index using their existing tools, according to the company. Once the content is indexed, Google Search will try and show deep links to the application directly in the search results, if relevant to the query.

The goal is to try and enhance mobile search results with additional information relevant to the query, according to the company.

Initially, such linking will be available only on a handful of iOS applications, including Eat24, Free Dictionary, Huffington Post, Pinterest, SeatGeek, Slideshare, YouTube and Zillow. iOS users in other countries will have access to content to more locally relevant applications.

"Of course, we're working on adding many more of your favorites," Wald noted.

In addition to finding content from mobile applications that are installed on the user's iPhone or iPad, Google will deliver relevant content from other non-installed apps. It will give users the option of installing the apps right from the search results. The same capability has been available in Android for some time.

News of the app indexing for iOS is the second significant mobile-search-related announcement Google has made in the last few days.

Last week, Google announced plans for a new "Now on Tap" capability that will become available in its upcoming Android M mobile operating system. The feature is basically an enhancement of the existing Google Now virtual assistant for Android. It will let Android users get assistance with any task they may doing with their mobile device, simply by pressing and holding the home button on their mobile device.

"For example, if a friend emails you about seeing the new movie 'Tomorrowland,' you can invoke Google Now without leaving your app, to quickly see the ratings, watch a trailer or even buy tickets—then get right back to what you were doing," the company said last week in a blog posting.

"If you're chatting with a friend about where to get dinner, Google can bring you quick info about the place your friend recommends," along with content from mobile apps like OpenTable or Yelp, the company said.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.