At the company’s World Wide Developers Conference Keynote, Apple’s Craig Federighi had announced that in iOS 9 there will be new APIs to allow app makers to add deeper and richer search powers within their apps.
In what is a direct response to what Google announced at Google IO, Apple will boost it’s search capabilities through a Search API that will let developers index and link their apps to make their apps discoverable through the iPhone search experience.
We now have an API for search. So now when a user performs a search, we can find content behind the apps they have installed on the device, and pull those up in results. And when they tap, they’re deep linked directly into the application. We even provide a convenient back link so they can get right back to their search results. We think these kinds of intelligence features really make a huge difference in your experience in iOS. (Craig Federighi)
Previously, users were only able to search for the specific apps by name, and only got deep linking for things such as emails, but as iOS 9, third-party apps will become first-class search citizens. You would be able to search for Santa Barbara and perhaps get your reservation information within the AirBnB app, or search for potatoes and the third-party app Yummly if installed, would show recipes that include potatoes, which was one of the examples Apple have provided on-stage.
Deep-Linking seems to be a hot topic over the past 12 months, with many companies like Facebook and TapStream and UseButton providing third-party deep-linking frameworks. Forming part of a more contextually aware iOS, Search API allows users to gain more meaningful search results whilst app developers are able to promote more of their content and features at an operation-system level.
Apple’s Deep-Linking through indexing will take it a step further than just searching for content within apps, it will make app screens behave like indexed pages on websites.
For instance, one app can direct a user to not just another app, but to a specific screen within the app, perhaps from an in-app advertisement, or an email could provide a link to direct the user to precisely the profile screen of an app.