2014 Is the Year of the Deep Link

Quixey co-founder and Chief Science Officer Liron Shapira wrote an opinion piece for Re/code about the possibilities of deep linking within mobile apps, and why this year is ripe for the technology to take off. An excerpt is below:

We’ve all been in the position of looking for fun places to go and good things to eat with friends, family, or colleagues. And we’ve all used our smartphones to find the hidden gems that will make us look like we’re in the know. But are our smartphones really doing everything they can to connect us with the information we need?

In the past year, and especially recently, a host of companies have set about answering that question. Whether positioned as in-app search or cracking open content, the phenomenon is real and important — not to mention well-funded. More recently, acouple of companies you may have heard of announced that they’re getting into the game in a big way.

Say you’re looking for an awesome karaoke bar, and use Yelp for a quick search. What’s wrong with this picture? Your friend goes on Yelp’s website and searches for nearby karaoke places, then texts you: “Check out all these karaoke places! Here’s a link.” The text comes with a link to a Web page full of karaoke search results. That’s convenient, and exactly what you need. But if your friend is using the Yelp app, the text has to read: “Check out all these karaoke places I found! Open Yelp and search for ‘karaoke.’” The app can’t offer a direct link to the right content, putting you and your friend one step farther from your signature rendition of “Lights.”

Apps and websites play a similar role in our lives, yet apps have traditionally lacked support for deep linking. But deep linking could have huge benefits to the whole ecosystem:

  • Sharing: You can text your friend a URL, and they’ll be able to access the same in-app function as you.
  • Advertising: Advertisers can target users better by promoting a deep link to the most relevant part of their app.
  • Search: Users don’t have to launch apps by name; their search engine can take them directly to relevant functions inside apps.

We can confidently expect that 2014 will go down in history as the year of the deep link. Because it’s not a fad — it’s the tipping point of an inevitable trend on the Web. To explain that trend, let’s reexamine our preconceptions about what “the Web” is.

Read the rest on Re/code.