A Web Which Won’t Be World Wide
I don’t think the Web is dead. And I am not sure it is going to die. But if it’s going to die, it might die at the hands of the URL scheme. Which is sort of interesting, because URL schemes are the way we link apps together, but in the future they might become the way we unlink from the Web.
I was marveling at the latest update to Drafts, the iPhone quick text entry app. Even more apps have been added to the list Drafts can send snippets of text. Some day soon (if it hasn’t happened already), publishers are going to realize that they can shoot readers from one of their silos to another and skip the web browser, even an in-app embedded web browser. From Time Magazine zoom right into Sports Illustrated without an extra click. Without passing Go.
Recently, Tim Bray wrote about browsers versus apps and suggested in part, “If you want to be featured in a phone’s electronic storefront, and then be purchased effortlessly with a couple of taps, and have the charge end up on the monthly phone bill, you need an app.”
The ease at collecting payment doesn’t seem like a small draw for the DRM and spongey paywall set. Not for the 47% off the cover price people. Reset your cookies? Screw you. In-app viewing only. Download our app and we’ll turn on the article counter from in there. And good luck with your “readlists” – the response from publishers might not be good design, it might be apps.
I still want small apps like Drafts to join together with other apps in more and more Unix-y ways, but the next time you hear a call for richer relationships between apps in iOS (or any platform), it might be worth wondering if those are the connections that will end-up binding tighter than the World Wide Web.