Google announced the new feature on its official Mobile Blog this week. Software engineers Milena Nikolic and Paul Hadfield said the idea is to help users quickly download an application as they search for mobile app information.
Applications show up at the top of search results on Google's mobile site. Selecting an application launches the App Store and takes users to that software's specific listing. The creator of the software, as well as user reviews, are listed alongside the link.
Users can also select "more results for your iPhone," which automatically conducts a search within the App Store software and displays the results. The same search results do not yet provide App Store links on the iPad, which accesses the desktop version of Google search.
Mobile app search results are currently available for both the iPhone and Android handsets in the U.S. Other devices and new countries are planned for the future, Google said.
Google's new feature could be seen as a mobile counterpart to Apple's own iTunes Preview service, which also provides information about content within the browser. The feature was first introduced last November, and gives customers the opportunity to view iTunes content without launching the desktop application, and even listen to song samples from within the browser.
This year, Apple expanded iTunes Preview, allowing users to view information on App Store software from within the browser. Users can view descriptions, prices and screenshots of applications for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad on the Apple-hosted site.
However, opening an iTunes link on an iPhone currently automatically launches the respective iTunes or App Store mobile application. Apple does not currently send users to a mobile version of the iTunes Preview website.