This feature, called deep-linking, will change the way users interact with their mobile phones. To date, mobile app content has been siloed behind rectangular chiclets.
In the next few months, users will be able to type in a few keywords in Google search, discover the document you’re looking for is in Google mail and with one simple click, takes its audience to that email in the Gmail application. In addition to creating a much better user experience, deep-linking enables five important secular trends in mobile:
First, mobile application developers will use mobile search engine optimization to re-engage users. With search deep-linking, content within applications will be surfaced in search results driving users back with greater frequency. This is critical because today the only tools available to mobile application developers to draw users back to their applications are push life cycle marketing tools email and push notifications. Search is a user action, a pull, laden with intent.
Second, mobile commerce will boom. Google‘s technology will send users deep within mobile applications, instead of the degraded mobile web experiences whose high friction payment experiences cause users to abandon their carts. Because applications store identity and payment credentials, these apps enable 1-click payments and will user conversion rates substantially.
Third, new advertising opportunities will be created for developers. I suspect Google will enable bidding for premium position in the search results. Imagine a user with two different travel booking applications, eg. Kayak and Orbitz. When the user initiates a search on Google for flight, each of these mobile applications would likely be willing to bid on premium placement to capture the transaction.
Fourth, search deep-linking solidifies Google search as the default first action for every user on android. Like on the web, search will provide the fastest means of accessing content on a mobile phone.
Fifth, search deep-linking will reinforce native application dominance. The better UX afforded by native apps and the easier payment flows will finally be accessible to the billion Android users and their tens of billions of monthly search queries.
Given the volume of Google searches on mobile phones, and the fountain of traffic Google mobile searches present, I expect developers will go to great lengths to integrate with Google’s search deep-linking and for them to be handsomely rewarded. Deep-linking, despite its small and unnoticed entry, heralds a new era for mobile apps
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