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Google ads can now stream app demos

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google is starting to use its new ability to stream Android apps as an advertising tool. Now when you bump into an advertisement for an app, that ad may offer you the chance to stream the app, without installing it, for a minute-long demo. Google shows how this will work with a Cookie Jam ad:

App streaming was introduced last month as a feature inside of Search. Google can already display search results inside of the apps you have installed, but streaming allows it to include results inside of apps that aren't installed — when you tap on the result, Google will run the app off of its servers and send the results down to your phone. Putting that technology to use for advertising is actually pretty interesting; especially for something like a casual game, streaming would let you quickly see what the app is all about and help you decide if you want to to download it.

These new ads aren't rolling out widely just yet. Google says that they remain in beta and available only to "a limited set of advertisers." On top of that, app streaming is also only available to phones in the US, connected to Wi-Fi, and running Android Lollipop or Marshmallow. That means this is only going to be available to a small subset of people to start, but as Google furthers this tech, it seems like ads are going to get a lot more capable.