The future of communications apps is on the web

SMS is dying. WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, SnapChat and many others are making it easier to talk to friends, families and groups. A common feature across these apps is: They are all on native platforms and are on the web only to drive users to their native app install pages.

WeChat "web interface"

I have spoken to a lot of developers about why their apps are only on native platforms, and to users about the features that they need and it comes to several key areas: Installability for permanence, engagement via push notifications, ability to bootstrap the social graph via the phone's contacts and "it's where the users are". The web for a lot of developers is just a tool to drive users to your installation page in the store.

But what if you didn't have to convert your user into an installed user, your user's are already a real user the minute they land on your page?

2015 is the first year where the web stops being just a funnel to an app install page. 2015 is the year where the web is an accelerant of growth.

The web in 2015 will offer developers and users two huge benefits:

There are a number of features that users expect an app to be able to perform for it to be useful:

The question is: the web is ephemeral with pages being born when a URL is opened and dying when the user closes the browser and has little to no access to the hardware, how can you get the **Presence, Persistence, Integration, Media Access (It's been noticed that an acronym for this is A PIMP) required to build a next generation communications app?

Answer: Service Worker and the recent additions to the web platform.

At the core, we have fixed many of the big issues. Today you can go and build WhatSnapChap entirely on the web and it can compete with the majority of communications apps today but there are some areas that still need to be improved:

The web that we had yesterday was never capable of even trying to take on the capabilities of a native application. In 2015 the technology is there. Service Worker opens up a new range of experiences and combined with the basic properties of the web provides a vastly smoother user on-boarding experience.

Can we build a SnapChat? Yes, absolutely.*

I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.

We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.

Our team tries to make it easier for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support developers on, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser compatibility, and some of the best developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.

I love to learn about what you are building, and how I can help with Chrome or Web development in general, so if you want to chat with me directly, please feel free to book a consultation.

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