Feeds

iPad media apps: Stealthed hobbits thwart Google's flaming Eye

Sauronplex pillage to finally end?

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Opinion Tablet media applications have a Google invisibility cloak around their stories. As this spreads a deadly revenue-denying dart could penetrate Google's media business model.

eyeofSauron

'There is no hope in the void'

The worldwide web is wide open, and Google takes full advantage of that, indexing everything it can find and providing access to it. Online media has followed the web model, with hypertext links from articles to sources and companion stories. The Reg is typical of this.

The Huffington Post website, a free-to-access news media site funded by adverts on the pages, follows this model. But, crucially, the iPad Huffington Post app is not available on the web. You can't download the app to a Windows and Mac PCs and notebooks.

Contrast the same story in the iPad HuffPo and the web HuffPo. The web version has a host of "read more" links below the headline; the iPad one doesn't. The web version has classic blue hot links in the story text to other HuffPo stories. The iPad HuffPo uses bold text to do the same job... But you are not reading the iPad HuffPo with a browser; it's an iPad App – with browser-like forwards and backwards navigation – but the links are at the App's discretion.

The content inside the iPad HuffPo is invisible to Google; it's in a black hole that Google's web-crawling spiders can't penetrate. Let's generalise. All the content in media implemented as tablet and smartphone apps will be invisible to Google and other search engines. As long as there is a website equivalent of the tablet/smartphone media apps, that won't matter, but how long will this fragile state of affairs continue?

For any media site the idea of a media app, comfortingly confining its users behind velvet curtains in a cleanly-designed and clutter-free environment and with an oh-so-easy possible transition to a subscription business model must look enormously attractive. Your content is exclusive because it is simply not seen by web aggregators and search engines. No bozo aggregators can syphon off your users. You can discreetly add adverts if you wish and get paid for those too.

Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page must be looking at this phenomenon and seeing the potential of a dark curtain being pulled across the wide open worldwide web they have been free to pillage for a decade. That curtain will close off parts of the online content world to Google, and hence restrict Google's ability to serve up ads to users guided to media sites by Google. Will that cause Googleplexers to quake in their boots?

Imagine a Facebook app, a LinkedIn app, and a web world of fleeing newspaper sites as they transform into newspaper tablet apps and vanish from the Google radar. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search sites and news aggregation sites will get the equivalent of macular degeneration; their web field of view will constrict more and more, affecting their revenue and business models from the media indexing point of view.

There's more. Have you heard about Mac Apps? Could we conceive of the HuffPo as a Mac App, available to Mac OS desktop and notebook users? Suddenly a tablet app-based denial of web search service attack on search engines would spread to Apple notebooks and desktops. Would the now imitative Microsoft let Windows get left behind? No way, Jose. The widespread adoption of media-as-apps on all consumer computing platforms might almost be seen as inevitable.

I foresee a fracture of the all-embracing worldwide web here. The online media world mostly overlaps the worldwide web now, apart from the tablet app niche. But that niche is the very thin end of what could be a huge wedge. The proliferation of apps could deny the search giant its vital revenue and drive a stake right into the heart of its media business model. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.