Facebook is not the only company to introduce a deep-linking standard. The startup URX, for instance, this week unveiled its Open Deeplink Standard, which is designed to also let developers link to each other’s apps.
The difference is that Facebook is more likely to scale its deep-linking standard, admitted URX CEO John Milinovich. “Facebook did a good job in creating code that has the opportunity to be widely adopted by publishers and we’re excited by their efforts to get publishers to put more meta tags on (the publishers’) sites,” Milinovich said.
This is beneficial for URX, he added, since as more publishers make their apps deep-link friendly, it provides URX with a larger market for its implementation tools. One such tool is Omnilinks, which lets users open deep links from email, SMS, push notification or social media sites that “works with any way that people can expose their tags.”
There are also more opportunities to apply deep-linking technology to mobile devices and ads.
“It would be great to see deep linking bridge the digital and physical worlds,” Plumeri said. “Perhaps by even using some sort of NFC technology, walking by a beacon that unlocks a piece of content for someone, and then opening up our app and bringing them straight to the article of interest … that's pretty rad.”
In addition, deep links could potentially direct users to different areas by layering other data such as the time of day, weather, previous clicks and location. Dynamically targeted deep linking in mobile has not been widely developed yet.
Facebook software engineer John Ketchpaw, for example, explained during an f8 breakout session that Facebook does not yet offer dynamic deep links and that developers must first collect data about the users they want to target with deep links.
As for whether app-to-app deep linking could hurt mobile Web vendors by cutting them out of the market, there will always be a need for a mobile Web, Milinovich argued.
“Because users don’t have every app on their phone, there’ll always be a place for the mobile Web,” he said. “Because it’s the one source that has access to all of the world’s information.”