A browserless world via chat apps?

New apps and functionality may be shaping the way we manage and distribute content to consumers.

New apps and functionality may be shaping the way we manage and distribute content to consumers.

Just when the content market gains parity with full web 2.0 integration, new apps and functionality are shaping the way we manage and distribute content to consumers. An emerging trend: a shift away from open accessibility browsers to proprietary chat apps.

In Facebook's Spring 2016 announcement of expanded functionality in its Messenger app, one of the benefits emphasized by the social media giant was new content publishing capabilities. Facebook invites developers to build bots that use the Messenger Send / Receive API, which now supports, "…not only sending and receiving text, but also images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action." The company also announced integration of Wit.ai's Bot Engine, which allows for developers to build more "complex" bots around machine-learning algorithms that can process natural language patterns. 

"80 percent of user time is spent on just five applications."

Too much to surf
While it's difficult to speculate as to its full impact, the expansion of chat app functionality may in fact signal that consumers are looking for a more direct way to receive and transmit data by way of content.

"Today, we no longer surf the web because there's too much to surf," writes Chris Moore is Chief Revenue Officer of Nexmo for The Content Wrangler. "Now, the bottomless ocean of information and data at our disposal has arguably become the Internet's biggest weakness. That reality, combined with the rise of smartphones as mainstream consumer devices, has ushered in an app economy where chat apps are fast becoming the new default destination for web-bound consumers."

Moore goes on to say that, according to a recent Forrester report, 80 percent of user time is spent on just five applications, with the closed-system of social media and messaging being the primary places spent. This could effectively mean that chat isn't just the web of tomorrow – it's essentially the web of today. 

An evolutionary essential 
So what does this mean for content managers? Simply, it means that chat- and social integrated-content management tools are a growing necessity. The ability to aggregate content and data, and apply learning algorithms in the forums where the most communication is occurring is the next evolutionary step for the content management and hypertext market. This means, too, that XML content management systems cannot hope to stay relevant in a market where content consumers are looking to bypass browser-oriented portals in favor of direct-from-the-vendor apps driven by user-configured bots.

According to Daniel Nations, a trend expert for About Tech, the "browsers of tomorrow" will likely be each website offering unique, proprietary apps and creating a seamlessly integrated browsing experience.

"I imagine it would be like merging our current browsers, ActiveX, and Java to create something that can be both a mini-operating system and a development platform," speculates Nations.

Mr. Nations may be showing his age, since ActiveX and Java in the browser are falling out of favor for their nearly innumerable security weaknesses.  Nevertheless, his core point is worth noting, "For you and me, it would be like loading up our office application, seamlessly switching between a word processor and a spreadsheet, and just as seamlessly switching to a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game."

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