Monday, November 17, 2014

Apps Changing Internet Usage

Today's Wall Street Journal reminds us that when we enter a particular app on our mobile device, we are essentially entering into a walled garden of specific information, disconnected from the open world wide web.  According to the article, we have changed how we surf, spending more time with apps than with an internet browser.  "On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry." 

And we have seemed to fall in love with our apps to find and share information fast.  The article worries that once we are inside a particular app or walled garden, we are then subject to its rules and whims, limited by what the particular app wants to allow us to see or do.  Most interesting to note, "The Web is built of links, but apps don’t have a functional equivalent."  We stay inside the garden unless we choose to venture again outside to seek additional information.  And unless we look outside the gates, we may not be exposed to new information. 

The article certainly doesn't see apps as bad, but as perhaps the next development of a changing platform.  The challenge is to find a way for openness to emerge.  The author's conclusion seems a sound one.  "It is that in the transition to a world in which services are delivered through apps, rather than the Web, we are graduating to a system that makes innovation, serendipity and experimentation that much harder for those who build things that rely on the Internet. And today, that is pretty much everyone."  If that is the case, I'm sure brighter minds are working on new types of app search. 

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