Friday column number 102. Apps for websites or websites for apps?

Differences in use cases between mobile and desktop operating systems. Browser as a multifunctional center versus full-fledged applications for each site.

Friday column number 102

I take the subway and connect to free Wi-Fi. I go through authorization and open twitter. I scroll through the feed, then go to the application Facebook. I look through the latest comments, then I open VKontakte, check my personal messages and reply to readers. At the end, I look at new letters in Gmail. When the ritual is over, I decide to read the comments on Mobile-Review. I click on the link, and then an advertising banner pops up. I do not feel any particular irritation, since the Internet is free, but there is a certain amount of surprise: “Oh, wow, do they have ads even while surfing the web?”

This is because there is a separate application for most of my actions. Remember the famous phrase 'There is an app for that'? It used to be used in relation to iOS, but now it is also true for Android. I never really attached importance to the fact that we now have applications not only for all services, but also for most sites. You need to book tickets – here's your Booking, check your email – a dozen customers, etc. And as an ordinary user, when choosing between a regular website opening (even with a mobile version) and a separate application, of course, I will choose the latter. And the reason is quite simple – optimization for a small screen, corporate design and much more.

But on a desktop computer, on the contrary, I use a browser much more often: social networks, mail, services and sites, instant messengers and chats – all this is available to me within one open program – Chrome or Safari. The only exceptions are Twitter and corporate mail.

Now we are seeing an interesting situation on the Internet. On the one hand, sites try to distance themselves from browsers and release their own applications for all popular platforms, thereby making life easier for users, and on the other, the same Google made an almost full-fledged operating system from its Chrome. It's not a secret for anyone that the entire 'computer life' of the layman rarely goes beyond the browser (we are now talking about a desktop PC), so additional functions appear in Chrome, applications from Google acquire web versions, etc.

Personally, I never cease to be amazed at how different mobile and desktop operating systems are, and how many differences in their development paths. But now the line between mobile and non-mobile devices is gradually blurring, so it will be especially interesting to look at who will ultimately be the winner in this tug of war – feature-rich browsers or standalone applications? Or maybe they will be harmoniously combined, giving users maximum opportunities and convenience, time will tell.

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