Sussing Out Google’s Master Plan in the Post-App Era 

We’ve endured the desktop era, the post-PC era, the smartphone era, and don’t forget the comically overused “year of mobile.” Now we’re seeing glimpses of the post-mobile era, characterized by VR and AR. The latter will truly break away from the smartphone, and could have the biggest implications for local.But aside from all these monikers and tech-history signposts, the real story is the evolution of how we consume digital media. For example, the shift from desktop to smartphone has fragmented the “front door” from a search box to millions of apps. It’s hard out there for a search engine.But now we’re seeing signs that the app era has peaked. App download time, tap counts and screen real estate are seen as wildly bloated to an on-demand culture who simply want tasks completed quickly. One result has been the rise of conversational commerce, and its rally cry, “the chatbot is the new app.”But more notable are Google’s moves amidst this upheaval. Just as the rise of apps displaced its dominance, their fall could be an opportunity to reclaim it. This carries the principles of an important tech axiom that Google knows well: large scale shifts in consumer behavior create openings for disruption.Google’s counter-attack to the world of apps can be seen in several places. In fact most Google moves are to drive mobile behavior through its front door. That doesn’t preclude apps, as long as users pass through Google along the way. Examples include Eddystone, Google Now, deep linking, and streaming apps.This principle underpinned nearly every announcement at Google I/O. Android Instant Apps for example carves out pieces of apps for easier one-time use. It’s a clear play at regaining ownership of users’ mobile time by exploiting the widespread “app bloat” sentiment mentioned above.

Source: Sussing Out Google’s Master Plan in the Post-App Era | Street Fight

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