But app indexing is not just Google introducing another corpus into its search engine. The mobile app-sphere is where people live these days — not so much the web. Google must be there. Huffman knows this. “Google should be the premiere place in user’s minds for finding apps, discovering great apps and finding the content and the capabilities inside of those apps,” he says.
The company faces challenges in doing this. For one thing, it had to figure out how to rank apps in search results. Google has endless experience ranking websites, but it has had to come up with new signals to identify the apps most likely to have the best information. (Apps with lots of downloads and high user rankings are more likely to have better information, and Google ranks the deep links within those apps more highly.)
Another potential hurdle is getting total buy-in from developers, who must not only allow Google to scrape their content, but actually do some work to make their apps integrate fully into Google’s scheme. This seems like a no brainer. After all, if the data in your app surfaces in a Google search result,users are more likely to use that app. What’s more, Google has started to give results from apps that are not installed on a user’s device. For instance, if you are searching for a recipe, Google might give you a deep link to a cooking app you don’t have. In those cases, there’s an opportunity to download the app. “So we actually are kind of promoting your app in line,” says Huffman.
Three steps to an answer: (1) holding and tapping the phone while “Blurryface” plays on Spotify and (2) asking Google who’s singing lead, will (3) surface the frontman of Twenty One Pilots. Note that at no point is the Google app or a browser involved