Mobile Apps Bringing the End of the World Wide Web as We Know It
NEWS ANALYSIS: Mobile and wearable devices along with the apps that they run are rapidly ending use of the open Web to access information.The Web celebrated its 25th anniversary on March 11. That’s too young to die, but there’s reason to worry about its survival. The open Web is in trouble and mobile apps are to blame, according to a rapidly forming consensus among Silicon Valley pundits and prognosticators. The catalyst for this view is a new report out of Flurry, a mobile analytics company, which found that 86 percent of the time users spend working with a mobile device involves apps—up from 80 percent in the previous year. Only 14 percent of the time is now spent using the open Web, according to the report. Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz considered this trend alongside the trend away from desktop computing to mobile “computing” (the use of smartphones and tablets). The inescapable conclusion of these two trends, projected into the future, is that people will soon be spending an overwhelming amount of their time using apps and an insignificant fraction surfing the Web with a Web browser of some kind.
Dixon fears that abandonment of the Web will disincentivize investment in Web development, thus contributing further to its demise. This is problematic, according to Dixon, because the open nature of the Web led to experimentation and innovation, whereas the app world is overly controlled by companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft.