40% of Facebook users are from its mobile app, and so does 52% users for Twitter.
Apps are killing the websites.
And the way it’s dying has deadlier implications than anything else in technology today. Pull out your mobile phone. All those little buttons on your screen are apps, not websites, and the way they work is fundamentally much different from the way the websites do.
In past couple of years, the time we spend on apps has surpassed the time we used to spend in surfing. We’re loving the apps, and they’ve taken over. Almost 86% of our time is spent in apps, compared to just 14% spent on the websites. Earlier we used to click a picture, transfer it to desktop, attach it in an e-mail and send. Nowadays, Whatsapp does that much quickly. Ofcourse, apps are a win-win for users – they are faster and easier.
However, along with that convenience, there is something sinister that is happening as well. Something deadly: the end of openness that allowed Internet to grow and us to connect more openly. We all download apps from app stores, which are bundled to particular operating systems and devices, are walled gardens where Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon get to set the rules. The problem runs much deeper than just these commercial gatekeepers – The Web was invented with a goal to share information. Anyone could put up a website or launch a new service or write a new blog and post a new pic, create a new album and upload a newly made song, and anyone and everyone could access it. This openness had led to Google being born in a garage and Facebook being born in a dorm room. After all, the web was intended to expose information far and wide. Internet created a common place where people could exchange information and goods. It forced companies to build technology that was explicitly designed to be compatible with competitors’ technology. Like Microsoft’s Web browser had to faithfully open Apple’s website. If it didn’t, consumers would use another browser. With apps, the internet will lose its primary identity – freedom.
I no where mean to say that the Web will disappear. But soon, we will graduate to a system that makes innovation and experimentation much harder for those who build things that rely on the Internet. And today, that is pretty much everyone.
I’d love to know what you think about this.
Opinion piece by Ritam Bhatnagar.
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