Overview of Google Play Instant

Google Play Instant enables native apps and games to launch on devices running Android 5.0 (API level 21) without being installed. You can build these types of experiences, called instant apps and instant games, using Android Studio. By allowing users to run an instant app or instant game, known as providing an instant experience, you improve your app or game's discovery, which helps drive more installations and acquire more active users.

This guide presents an overview of the Google Play Instant experience.

The 'Try Now' button appears next to the 'Install' button
Figure 1. The Try Now button that appears on an instant-enabled app or game's page on Google Play

How the instant experience works

With Google Play Instant, users can tap on a Try Now button or a website banner to try an app or game without installing it first. Figures 1 and 2 show examples of these discovery surfaces.

When Google Play receives one of these requests for an instant app or game, it sends the necessary files to the Android device that sent the request. The device then runs the app or game.

A banner at the top of the webpage reads 'Try our app without
    installation' and includes a button to open the instant experience
Figure 2. On your website, you can add a link to your app's instant experience

To provide an instant experience for your app or game, however, you need to satisfy the size limits described in the next section.

Enable instant experiences by reducing app or game size

Google Play Instant offers the following two levels of instant experiences:

  • Basic instant experience: Allows users to tap on a Try Now button or a website banner to try an instant experience.
  • Enhanced instant experience: Allows users to launch an instant experience from any surface that can launch a URL. Figure 3 shows some examples of the surfaces where you can launch an enhanced instant experience of your app or game:

    Sharing surfaces include: Search, ads, social networks,
        beacons, messages, email, QR codes, and NFC
    Figure 3. Examples of surfaces where you can launch an enhanced instant experience.

Your app must be a small enough size to enable these instant experiences, but the exact maximum sizes vary between apps and games, as shown in the following table and explained in the following sections.

Category Basic experience
size limit
Enhanced experience
size limit
App 10 MB 4 MB
Game 10 MB 10 MB

To learn how you can reduce the size of your app or game, see Reduce the size of your instant app or game.

App size limits

To provide a basic instant experience, your app must be no larger than 10 MB. To provide an enhanced experience, reduce your app's size to less than 4 MB.

Figure 4 shows the benefits of reducing your app's size:

Reducing app size leads to more installations, engagement,
    and business success
Figure 4. Benefits of reducing your app's size

Game size limits

To provide a basic or enhanced instant experience, your game must be no larger than 10 MB. Figure 5 shows the benefits of reducing your game's size:

Reducing game size leads to more installations, engagement,
    and business success
Figure 5. Benefits of reducing your game's size

Special considerations for multiple entry points

It's possible to provide different instant experiences from the same app or game by creating multiple entry points. For example, a puzzle game might have two different modes: a single-player, timed challenge and a multi-player matchup. You could deploy these modes as separate instant experiences, allowing players to try out different aspects of gameplay.

To create these different entry points, configure a different entry point for each experience that you'd like to provide. To learn more, see Provide multiple entry points into an instant experience.

Additional resources

To learn more about Google Play Instant, see the following resources:

To learn more about instant apps, instant games, and Google Play Instant, take a look at the following resources: