Clicking links within mobile apps can be a messy situation, as you might go from a streamlined social app to a sloppy webpage not optimized for small devices. Facebook's AppLinks tool aims to change that, as developers can seamlessly send users from one app to another via a simple html code.
Announced Apr. 30 at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference, AppLinks is a free, open-source code that allows for easy app-to-app linking. For example, if you're in Facebook's mobile app and click an ad for Hulu, you can be taken directly to Hulu's mobile app and not a webpage. AppLinks also supports mobile-optimized web pages that you can build with services like Parse.
Aside from Facebook itself, AppLinks' list of supporters includes app favorites like Dropbox, Spotify, Pinterest and Hulu. AppLinks is designed to support all major mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The AppLinks platform is available now and is already being used; Spotify is working with Songkick to let you buy concert tickets from the artists you're listening to.
With lots of major companies on board, AppLinks could change the way we browse on mobile. With the ability to quickly jump between dedicated apps for e-mail, shopping, games and entertainment, there could very well be a day when the standard mobile web becomes virtually obsolete.