Now I’m talking publicly about progressive web apps and the future of Web development and the Internet, I’ve been asked a lot for my opinion about instant apps and, before instant apps, about why Google was trying to close the gap between the Web and native platforms, i.e. Android.
Actually, I don’t really know but despite the strategy would seem contradictory, after Google I/O it seems obvious to me: Google is running an experiment
about switching its distribution platform . to bring more users to the search engine.
Why? Well, it makes sense that there should be a correlation between the time a user spends on Google search engine and the amount of money Google earns. So here is my assumption: given the marketplace is free from ads and most of the content is free, browsing the marketplace is not profitable or, at least, not as profitable as the Google search engine.
But we like applications, and to use applications implies some behaviour patterns, the result of all these years of mobile education. So, in order to make Web applications more appealing (and so, to increase the time a user spent in the search engine) why not to add native-application characteristics to Web applications?
In the other hand, it is Android. Another common question these days is: will we, Android developers, loose our jobs in the future? As if some of Android developers would feel threatened by progressive web apps in some way.
Well, honestly, I think no, at least in the near and mid time scenarios and Google has provided some extra warranties to make Android last for even more time. With Instant Apps, Google is closing the gap from the other end, it’s bringing to Apps what we like most from the Web: immediacy (no market, no download, no installation) and URLs so now we can search for Apps in Google engine. And that’s the point! No market, more time spent in Google search engine.
And why to bet for two approaches instead of one? Because it brings more users to the search engine and… they can (in terms of costs). If both initiatives succeed, both developer communities will be happy and users will spend their time into the most profitable distribution platform they can use: the Internet. Everybody win and the world is a wonderful place… for somebody. 😉
And that’s all folks! Notice that I could be totally wrong since all this is based on the premise that Google earns more money from the engine than from the market but there is some data to support my assumption out there (google it!) and, in the end, this is only speculation.
EDIT: I changed the nature of the experiment as it was not accurate enough. It is more clear now.