Google Blurs The Line Between Web & Native Apps On Android L

Seamlessly switching between web and native apps, Android L

 

Google previewed its all-new version of Android, dubbed 'L', at the I/O conference held in San Francisco on Wednesday. Apart from the changes to the UI itself, Android L will come with a new version of Chrome with prime focus being on blending native apps with web tabs.

The biggest indication of this is seen in the re-designed 'recent apps' drawer rather than on Chrome itself. Each tab on Chrome will get its own card, equalling in value any app that may be running on your device. The other indicator being the company's decision to expand its app indexing API to all Android apps.

According to TechCrunch, so far the company only worked with certain select developers to do this, a prime example of it would be IMDb. When you search for a movie on Google, the results would display a link that would open a particular page on the IMDb app installed on your phone. This is the seamless transition from web to native apps.

The report goes on to say that the end of native apps could be closer than we think, and that Android L will truly blur the lines between web and native apps. Why will Google do this? Well they've always been web developers, and most of the company's most successful apps – Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive – are all web apps.

The idea however isn't new. Mozilla is trying to do the exact same thing with its Firefox OS, but they've run into a few roadblocks. The reason Google hasn't ditched native apps already is because device processors aren't fast enough, web runtimes aren't efficient and developers aren't that great at developing web apps.

However, those are just three small hurdles which Google has already begun fixing. That said it may take years before web apps rule the roost on your smartphone, but with Android L Google has clearly taken a step in that direction.


TAGS: Google, Android L, Google I/O 2014, Chrome, web apps, Apps