BEST OF THE WEB: Why successful mobile apps are abandoning the web

The $US1 billion purchase of Instagram by Facebook this week has captured all the headlines, but there’s a bigger issue at play here – how apps now seem to be foregoing the traditional web-based approach.

Most businesses have established a presence on the internet and then investigated how to make their websites mobile. But Instagram has done the opposite, going straight for the mobile solution, and it’s paid off.

As the New York Times points out, more and more apps are finding out that if you have a good strategy, you don’t need to start on the web. And the Instagram deal may be a “turning point”.

There are statistics to back it all up, too. According to data from CB Insights, mobile apps and companies took 10% of the total investment dollars from venture capital firms in the fourth quarter. And 12% of deals were related to mobile.

Ben Lerer, manager of the venture capital firm Lerer Ventures, said he preferred to back companies that were building services for mobile first and the web second, because “businesses that are thinking that way are planning for the future”.

The benefits of starting with a mobile app are numerous, as the company doesn’t have to squeeze in features designed for a desktop. They can just start from the ground up.

“When you’re on the phone you need the experience to be instantaneous,” Catch chief executive Andreas Schobel said. “You just can’t do that yet on the web.”

Phone companies band together to stop theft

A decade ago, losing a mobile phone wasn’t that big a deal. But now, during an age when phones are personal computers, losing a smartphone means cancelling credit cards, remotely deleting data, and going through a lot of hassle.

And as this data in The Atlantic shows, electronics are now the most stolen item of property, more frequently than cash.

So the US Government is working with the country’s top four wireless providers in order to create a central database of stolen phones. It will track phones that are reported as lost or stolen, and then deny those phones access to any sort of voice or data network.

While companies such as Apple already have ways to make sure users can delete their data, this is another way users can make sure their phones are never used again or sold on for money.

The idea is that as phones become more valuable, their loss becomes much more of a burden for the owner. Creating a database stops theft in its tracks.

Of course, there are problems. As the piece points out, there could be huge civil liberties issues with creating such a centralised system.

“The chief selling point of the mega-database – its mega-ness – could, viewed another way, also be its chief drawback.”

This is an interesting development – and definitely worth a read if you’re interested in mobile phone security.

Start archiving all your email

There’s been a lot of talk about why email is becoming an archaic concept and why its followers need to move on to something new.

But there’s a better use for your email if you’re finding it hard to deal with – archiving.

Tech guru MG Siegler has written over on his blog that if you’re using Gmail, archiving is probably the best thing you could ever do to manage your email, especially if you’re dealing with dozens of messages every day that slowly clog your inbox.

“A week into my ‘Archive All’ world, my inbox is pretty fantastic. Obviously, I’m not the first person to do this, but I was highly sceptical that it would work since I figured that after the initial purge, messages would just start piling up again.”

“But at least for me, it’s more of a mental thing. It’s essentially out-of-sight, out-of-mind.”

If you’re swamped by email, putting it out of sight could do a world of good in managing your stress levels.

Google is more popular than Apple, Facebook and Twitter

Google’s taken a lot of flak lately, especially as it makes some business decisions that seemingly go against its “don’t be evil” motto. But some new research over at ABC suggests the company is more popular than you’d think.

The data shows that when American respondents were asked about companies that were unfavourable, and favourable, Google came out on top with an 82% approval rating. Apple had 74%, and Facebook had 58%.

As for unfavourable, Google had 10%, but Apple and Facebook both had 14%.

It’s not conclusive proof of any nature, but it’s interesting to see the public perception of Google may not be as bad as some in the industry think it is.

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