Let me take a step back. Internet, in my view, is the ultimate manifestation of the hippy culture. Everything was free:
- Access to internet is free after you have paid your ISP. Almost everything that has been digitized is available on the internet for free. You could change ISPs and everything still worked.
- There was hardly any government control over the internet. They wished. However, it is designed in such a beautiful way that there are very few central systems. This makes the internet very tough to control (unless of course you are China).
- The real estate on the internet was also very cheap. You could buy a domain name in $10, a cheap server in $5 and go online with your site.
- There was no limit on number of sites you could visit. These sites could not steal your data. They could store some of their own data at your end but not steal much. Once you close the site, they cannot send you any popups or notifications. They cannot run in background and monitor your activity. Track your location, speed, acceleration etc.
- Better still, you could write blog posts which millions could read and cost you zilch. There were these things called RSS feed, which made it even unnecessary to go to sites to read content on them. You could just subscribe to RSS feeds.
- In fact, you could link to other people's property and it was encouraged. People who visited your site, could easily hop to any other site you linked to. You did not have to pay anything for it.
May be internet was too open to make money. So 'they' invented the app world. App economy is a dream for big companies. Huge user base, free & rich media push notifications, ability to steal the ultimate of user social graph (call logs, sms history) and on-ground sensors to enable steal very personal data of users. Lets have a look at this world as to how it compares to the internet.
- Internet fast speed lanes, internet.org, anti net neutrality deals. Enough said.
- Apps do share the internet. However are themselves in control of one company which makes it, one company which distributes it.
- Apps have already made it impossible for a part time hobby dev to produce and maintain 3-4 different apps. Hardly anybody I know, knows obj-c and java both very well.
- Apps have made it difficult to have more than 20-30 of them on your phone. More than that and your phone would be left with no space. Once these select 20 are there, you are locked into them. They steal your data and periodically push you notifications! A we just love them.
- We first managed to kill RSS. I remember there was a huge campaign one time which demeaned RSS. Google then killed reader for no apparent reason. Is the internet world a puppet show ?
- Apps cannot link to other apps. You cannot link to particular page of particular app in a generic way unless the other app wants it and allows it. There exists no generic way to do it. The standard way could be that you talk to the other app dev, sign a contract with them and possibly even pay them. Linking is dead.
- Apps are not free. They are locked in to a platform. If you want to port your code, you would need to rewrite the whole code base. (hybrid apps don't seem like they are happening)
I think we are witnessing end of internet as we knew it. Companies are suddenly trying to kill browsers and generic internet. They are trying to invent a proprietary walled garden internet.