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OPLIN 4cast #425: Deep links

Posted in 4cast

hyperlink symbolOne of the fundamental building blocks of the World Wide Web has always been the hyperlink, the code that allows you to jump from web page to web page and back again. These links function because each web page has an address that makes it possible to find the page when wanted, and also makes it possible for search engines to take you to a specific page of information upon request. Mobile apps do not share this basic functionality of the Web, and now that mobile apps occupy a larger and larger portion of the time people spend on the Internet, there is more and more pressure to recreate the Web experience within the mobile experience. “Deep linking” between apps may be one answer.

  • Apps everywhere, but no unifying link (NY Times Technology | Conor Dougherty)  “The app problem traces its origins to 2008, when Apple introduced the App Store for iPhones. Unlike websites, apps were set up to be separate little boxes whose technology prohibited them from interacting with one another. At the time, the idea of a phone full of apps was new enough that most people were not very worried about whether those apps could link to each other. But today, apps have begun to eclipse the web.”
  • Making apps as easy to search as the Web (Re/code | Ina Fried)  “To further complicate matters, it’s not only about the method for linking, it’s also about figuring out the right business opportunity. To search engines like Google that profess to catalog the world’s information, apps have been a threat — silos that need to be opened.”
  • Deep links, extensions turning apps into new mobile Web (MediaPost | Jeremy Shabtai)  “The general idea behind app deep linking is similar to hyperlinks found on the Web. An app is able to link directly to specific content buried within another app, allowing users to jump back-and-forth from one app to another. For example, Google Maps now has a link that takes you directly into the Uber app to call a car. Hitting the ‘back’ button actually navigates you back to the app page you just left. Mobile apps are finally starting to act like the Internet.”
  • Why deep linking matters (Taylor Davidson)  “Without the URL structure of the web, mobile app developers are forced to implement deep linking schemes to build back some of the basic functionality that the open web was originally built upon. Looking further, will deep linking recreate a complete URL structure for apps, or will it merely provide a short-term solution for mobile transactional ads and ecommerce? Even if the answer is only ‘merely’, it should unlock significant ecommerce mobile advertising spending and help lead to a much more diverse set of mobile advertising ad units and experiences.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

  1. Mobile deep linking: Should you care? (Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management, March 2014, p19 | Much Speers)
  2. Facebook new ‘App Links’ mean no more switching from apps to Web browsers. (International Business Times, 5/3/2014)
  3. Branch announces funding for next generation deep linking technology. (PR Newswire US, 9/23/2014)