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Apr 10, 2014

Decline of the Mobile Web?

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This story from earlier in the week seem to strike a chord: The Decline of the Mobile Web. The gist of the story seems to be that mobile phone users are using apps more than their browsers. Consequently, the web is dead.

As a counter point, John Gruber of Daring Fireball wrote this post, making the excellent point that many mobile apps are merely specialized web browsers that use http and https. Just because they are not traditional browsers does not mean the web is dead.

In addition, a big chunk of time spent in apps was Facebook. Probaly another case where the app is just another specialized browser. Also, Facebook is kinda link a new and improved AOL. Sure you can surf the web from there, but the main goal is to keep you on Facebook, period. My guess is that heavy Facebook users are probably not big web surfers to begin with.

The biggest slice of time at 32% was gaming. Also not an area where the web dominates. Once again, another area that really has no impact on web usage.

So to sum up, the web is not dead. In fact, it is probably more vibrant now than it has ever been. In my experience, most specialized content apps still suck when compared to their web counterparts. I read a lot of news and have tried apps for newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Daily Mail, plus a number of tech site apps. Generally, these apps are horrible. Why should I wait for an app to download a site and cache it when I can just go to the web page and read right now. Plus, the apps seem to be infected with poor user intefaces and unwanted advertising that cannot be easily skipped like on a web page. So for me, a good ole web browser is still my most used app.

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