Google Launches In-App Search, Retains Control of Android

Just when it looked like Samsung was taking over Android, Google swooped in with a new in-app search function, as well as app content in mobile search results, for Android users. In the next few days or so, the features will be available not only for phones using the recently released Android 4.4, or Kit Kat, but also for older Android models within Google’s Search app. Google partnered up with Expedia, Trulia, Etsy and about nine other apps for the launch.

With in-app search, if users search the Web for content that exists in one of their downloaded apps, that content will appear first in the results and prompt users to launch the app.

GigaOM explains: “Let’s say you’re looking to rent an apartment, and you’re searching for open listings via Google. One of the first links is going to be a result from Trulia — and if you have Trulia’s Android app installed, it’s going to give you the option to open that specific result in Trulia’s app, where you can then take action on the content, including exploring the apartment’s neighborhood on a map or and contacting a real estate agent.”

This new function could allow publishers to monetize their apps through contextual advertising, GigaOM suggests. The development could also improve upon Google Now, which is designed to accomplish tasks without being prompted to. It could, in theory, make the smartphone even smarter.

There’s a lot of potential with in-app search for Android’s functionality, and the upside for Google is now it has the upper hand over Android products once again. “Samsung in particular has been trying to win over developers,” GigaOM writes. “But there’s one thing Samsung doesn’t have: a search engine.”