All Android developers can now let the Google app index personal data

Google today said it has released version 10.0 of its Firebase App Indexing application programming interface (API), which lets mobile app developers integrate content from their apps into search results. Now all developers can index personal content, not just public content, from apps for the In Apps section of the Google app on Android.

Google introduced In Apps in Android 7.0 Nougat, initially exclusively on the LG V20.

“Starting with version 10.0, the Firebase App Indexing API on Android lets apps add their content to Google’s on-device index in the background, and update it in real-time as users make changes in the app,” Google software engineer Fabian Schlup wrote in a blog post. Firebase App Indexing was previously known as Google App Indexing.

Google is trying to respect people’s privacy in the implementation of this technology.

“The personal content index only exists on the user’s device. None of the user’s personal content is uploaded to Google servers and it only remains on the device while the app is installed,” Google says in the documentation for the updated API.

The larger context here is that starting with iOS 9, Apple has brought deep links to search on its mobile platform. Now Google is going beyond the web to improve results for searches within apps — arguably something that Google should have beaten Apple to in the first place.

Notably Google is not today making it possible for developers to index personal context into searches in the Google App — in fact, the In Apps feature isn’t even there yet. That said, public content in apps like YouTube videos can be indexed for Google search results on iOS, as well as on Android.


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