Perhaps not ideal timing for Google to introduce this policy, considering, e.g., its EU anti-competitive challenges; also see LinkedIn Employee Slams Google for Its ‘Flawed’ Mobile App Study (Re/code)
"“Google saw its users fleeing mobile search via an exit door that led to apps,” said Luther Lowe, vice president for public policy at Yelp, the local search engine and persistent Google critic. “To make sure they can continue to extend their search monopoly onto mobile, Google is essentially telling app developers, ‘We’re losing too many of our users to your apps, so your new users will have to go through a doggy door.’”Competitors Accuse Google of Using Search to Diminish Apps - The New York Times
People use Google to navigate the vast and open web, and Google makes tens of billions of dollars guiding them. But when they go straight to the app, they cut Google and its ad business out of the equation, a fact that Steve Jobs of Apple noted as far back as 2010."