Try before you buy (or download) with Android Instant

Android P Developer Preview is available for Google Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones

Google has announced that it's expanding its Instant Apps program to include games, which was launched past year and allows users to try apps out to see if they like them before downloading them. Fans of Words With Friends 2 will match up against a Shakespeare-inspired Wordmaster bot powered by the latest AI technology, while Solitaire enthusiasts can challenge themselves in a mini game experience of the classic card pastime.

The number of users of Google's Android smartphones and mobile devices who installed a game in the last year more than doubled over the previous year, Google said on Monday.

"With Google Play Instant, you can just tap and try a game without having to download it first", says Google in an announcement on the Google Keyword Blog.

Today Google announces a solution to the problem: Google Play Instant.

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We first learned about instant apps back at Google I/O in 2016, where Google said they were working with select developers to offer up instant experiences of apps, nearly like web experiences. There's absolutely no install time and games run exactly like they would if they had been installed onto your phone. Amazon and Facebook Inc are also holding workshops for developers at the conference as they vie for increased advertising and licensing revenue.

However the first new service from Google on display at the talks was actually regarding the Google Play store - and, though whilst not expressly related to immersive applications, it certainly has the capacity to affect any AR app or virtual reality (VR) product for Google's head mounted displays (HMDs) - the Google Cardboard and Google Daydream.

The company also added some tools to Google Play Console to help developers as they build their games. That's probably easier said than done, though, given that you still want players to have an interesting experience.

It's a direction that the Play Games app has been moving in for a while now, but a stylish new "arcade" area that features more animation and video previews as well as a variety of different categories for players to explore. The app originally was Android's answer to the iOS Game Center, with a focus on achievements, matchmaking and playing games with friends, but now it's been redesigned with a bigger focus on curated content and discovery features.

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