Google Turns On In-Stream Installs For Android Apps In Google+

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Google shows off what happens when you control both a social network and a mobile software platform, thanks to a new feature of Google+ spotted by The Next Web today that allows users to share and purchase Android apps directly from the Google+ feed. It’s a small tweak, but a big one in terms of unlocking the power of Google’s social networking efforts and translating that to a more frictionless process for boosting Android software installs.

Now, when users paste URLs for apps in the Google Play store and post those as updates to Google+, their followers will be able to click an “Install” button and send the app directly to their Android device of choice, be it a smartphone or tablet, so long as it’s associated with their Google+ account. This will be an absolute must-use feature for developers and publishers hoping to drive traffic to their apps, and also makes it a lot easier for anyone who finds an app they want to recommend to share that discovery with others.

Apple recently introduced a new way for developers to sell App Store titles directly through other apps in iOS 6, which is a similar attempt to make it easier for consumers to find and purchase new software directly. Google’s implementation, however, has the advantage of existing outside of an exclusively mobile setting, and offers greater flexibility, since people can send the app to different devices, if they own more than one Android-powered gadget.

When Google starts building this kind of functionality into Google+, you see exactly why it’s a worthwhile pursuit for the search giant, even if social networking isn’t their strong suit and building the network in terms of generating sign-up and engagement traction requires more investment than Google may have initially anticipated.