Benedict Evans on WhatsApp

Benedict Evans:

Second, the winner-takes-all dynamics of social on the desktop web do not appear to apply on mobile, and if there are winner-takes-all dynamics for mobile social it’s not yet clear what they are. There are four main aspects to this:

  • Smartphone apps can access your address book, bypassing the need to rebuild your social graph on a new service
  • They can access your photo library, where uploading photos to different websites is a pain
  • They can use push notifications instead of relying on emails and on people bothering to check multiple websites
  • Crucially, they all get an icon on the home screen.

Any smartphone app is just two taps away - a desktop site can crush a new competitor by adding it as a feature with a new menubar icon but on mobile there isn’t room to do that. Mobile tends to favor single-purpose, specialized apps.

On the second point, it’s not just that mobile apps have access to your photo library, it’s also that the device is the user’s camera. That enables mobile apps not just access to photos you have already taken, but also to photos you are taking right now, in the moment. In the pre-mobile world, you did stuff with photos hours or even days after you took them. Today, you do stuff with them moments after taking them.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

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