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Google's secret acquisition could change the way we use our smartphones (GOOG)

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 20 Jun 2015

Google secretly acquired app streaming start-up Agawi last year,according to a new report fromThe Informationon Thursday.The Information described the acquisition as part of a larger strategy to push customers to use the mobile internet more ' and thus lucrative Google services like Search ' and apps less.It isn't hard to guess why. Google likely generates half of its revenue or more from search ads. Though it owns the Android platform and its associated app store, Google's core dominance is in search. Since the acquisition, Agawi's web site is no longer live. It's likely that Agawi's technology is being folded into Google's offerings.Prior to the acquisition, Agawi allowed users to stream storage-heavy apps like "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" (2.4 GB) or "FIFA:14" (1.35 GB) directly to their phone, thus alleviating the pressure to clog up your phone with apps.Many people buy phones with greater storage capacities to ensure they'll have enough room for all their apps ' and some apps, particularlygames, take up huge amounts of space.By streaming apps rather than storing them, consumers could opt to purchase less expensive phone models with less storage space. In addition, if users became more accustomed to streaming apps from the internet, as opposed to storing and using them as standalone applications, they would likely use in-browser services more often, which is exactly what Google wants.The truth is that most people would benefit greatly from software like Agawi. Most people only use four of their apps on a regular basis. There's really no need to keep most of our lesser-used apps stored on our mobile devices. Relying on streaming technology like Agawi to power your apps, rather than the internal hardware could encourage users to opt for less expensive devices with better battery life and less powerful specs. Most of the processing would occur where the app is streaming from, and all you would really need is strongWiFi or cellular signal.Some might argue that streaming apps would drive up your data usage (and thus your monthly bill), but it's possible that only the parts of the app that you are using would be streamed, rather than the entire app.The Information's report also suggested that app streaming would work with free trials, so instead of endlessly streaming a paid app, you would get to try the app for 30 seconds or two minutes to help you decide whether or not youwant to pay forthe full app to be on yourphone.Using streaming technology would require a strong internet connection to work optimally. Right now, the cellular infrastructure on most US carriers isn't reliable enough outside of cities to accommodate app streaming.Streaming apps in the cloud could greatly benefit consumers, but it would also benefit app developers. Instead of downloading specific apps from an app store, users could search Google for a particular service and Google would show results with apps that provide that service. Since people currently only use a small number of apps each day, Google's new service could help more apps get used or hidden apps become discovered.For example, rather than searching for Seamless, you could search for "food delivery services," and Google will show you a list of apps that deliver food. And who knows, perhaps you'd discover anew food delivery service like Caviarthat you would never have found if you stuck to Seamless.A Google-powered app streaming service could be significant for both app makers and consumers, buthow soonwe can expect to stream all our apps from the cloud is still unclear.SEE ALSO:A former Googler has declared war on ad blockers with a new startup that tackles them in an unorthodox wayJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: Here are all of Google's awesome science projects ' that we know about
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