The quiet innovation that took all web platforms by storm was the bar – not the Google or Bing bar that is annoyingly installed with applications that I keep yanking off my father in law’s computer – the thin little bar (or in Bing’s case the rather large side bar) that allows the person interacting with the site to get to other similar properties related to the platform. With WordPress I have a little bar at the top of my screen now where I am typing. I can get to details of WordPress.com, I can get to my own blog, I can jump to my other blogs so long as they are hosted on or running wordpress software, etc. This same bar pops up when I read other wordpress blogs and then I can interact with those blogs more.
What is interesting is that this bar was rather quietly added to most web platforms. Google added theirs, Bing added theirs, etc. This was all at the same time that most VCs and industry pundits were beginning to talk about the relevance of mobile apps and how great mobile apps were the way of the future. Taking a step back, and comparing the two is interesting. If online apps have matured to a point where they have found that it is valuable to build a framework that people can use to jump between apps – shouldn’t mobile developers or mobile platforms follow suit? If I have an app on my phone that allows me to track my run (map, time, distance data) – wouldn’t it be great if I could leverage tools within that app to load an instagram like picture program to take a great photo of the beach while I am out running – or a program to text my wife and let her know that my legs were feeling great and my 8 mile run would probably be closer to 20?
It is great that investment and profits are occuring for people creating these one-use applications – there is evidence that there is a loosely or tightly coupled need for apps that can connect to each other on the device and even allow that coupling to span devices. We aren’t seeing much of this now; however, with the need there I do believe that investors and innovators will push things in that direction.