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Google Search for Android delves into apps for answers

Google is unearthing information from apps and bringing it into the light, with a new update to search that can show results from apps for the first time.

Google is unearthing information from apps and bringing it into the light, with a new update that means you'll see search results using your apps for the first time.

Here's a gif showing how it works -- search for Jimmy Stewart on your phone, and find out about seasonal classic It's A Wonderful Life using the IMDb app.

"A task as simple as choosing a movie to see can actually be complex -- and the information you want can be in several different places, often in apps," the Big G's VP of engineering Scott Huffman explains in a blog post. "You might get your trivia from IMDb, the box office stats from Wikipedia and ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.

"Starting today, Google can save you the digging for information in the dozens of apps you use every day, and get you right where you need to go in those apps with a single search. Google Search can make your life a little easier by fetching the answer you need for you -- whether it’s on the Web, or buried in an app."

The feature requires apps to be made searchable by their developers, so it'll only work with a select group of apps to start with (including Etsy, Expedia, Flixster, IMDb, OpenTable and Wikipedia). One of those is the Play Store, so if you search for an app, you can download it directly from search.

If you're making your own app, you can learn more about indexing apps by adding 'deep links' on Google's developer site.

"These new features are rolling out now on Android," Google promises, "through the Google Search app or directly in Chrome and Android browsers." I'm not seeing it on my up to date Nexus 5, but I expect it'll update in the next few days.

Do you think this is a useful, time-saving addition to Google search, or another way for Google to tie you into its ecosystem? Search for answers in the comments, or on our highly indexed Facebook page.