Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Google overstepping the mark again with Instant Apps

Like the introduction of AMP pages last year (which, to be fair, has since been improved by at least offering us the option of a return to a regular webpage), Google is once again overstepping the mark with the introduction of its Instant Apps service.
I first came across it today, not long after receiving my first mobile emergency alert, so I was beginning to feel like I was no longer in complete control of my own phone. Clicking on a link from Flipboard to view an article on the original CBC webpage, I was instead shown the article in the CBC News app, even though I have never installed the CBC News app. It's very clever technology I'm sure, but surely it should be up to me whether or not I want to use the CBC News app, and if I did want to, then I would presumably have gone ahead and installed it. But don't force it on me.
As things stand, there is a way to disable Instant Apps, but it involves jumping through some hoops, and it really shouldn't. You can disable it on an Android phone by going to the Google Play Store (where you go to download and install new apps), bringing up the Settings from the top menu, and then de-selecting the "Use apps without installation" option (here is a YouTube explanation of how to do this). Not too onerous, I know, but the onus should not be on us to fix things, and the average little old lady is not going to know what to do.

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