There was lots of concern about Facebook’s Instant Articles when they launched earlier this year, chief among them the power dynamic resulting from such an arrangement. It seems though, that while not insanely popular, users have reacted positively to the trend and Facebook recently became the top source of referral traffic for major publishers.
Now Google and Twitter are trying to launch instant services, and avoid the potential ethical issues at the same time. According to sources cited by Re/code:
Twitter users or Google search users who click on a link while using their phones will see full articles pop up on their screens almost immediately, instead of having to wait several seconds […] Google and Twitter are creating their publishing tools as an open source project, and hope to convince multiple tech companies to adopt it.
While this isn’t exactly solid evidence of a game plan from either company, it makes sense given Google’s usual preference for open platforms. An open source system for loading articles found on social sites like Twitter, or searches like Google may not seem all that important, but it could be a real solution in the context of deep links. A major challenge facing the digital world is catering to a mobile environment where hardware and software might be limited.
Deep links have the potential to redefine the future of the internet. The first companies to figure out app to app transition, while preserving advertising and mobile speed could corner a market. Which is likely why Facebook and Google are both vying to launch the better technology.
An open source solution to could also enable networks will be able to give their ads priority in a psuedo-native environment. Additionally, it could put Google and Twitter in a position to take a cut of ad revenue generated by these platforms. On the other hand, it could make app environments less important as mobile technology continues to advance.
While none of this information has been confirmed by official sources on record, it indicates that big changes might be coming for the mobile internet space in the near future. Hopefully those changes benefit all users, and not just Google and Twitter.
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