Talking tech since 2003

Deep linking has been a hot topic as of late with companies popping up including URX,, and others to take on the problem of making mobile apps connect the same way that clickable links work within the Web.  Now Facebook has taken a deeper jump in the space by introducing App Links.

The new initiative aims to make deep-linking between native apps easier for developers by giving the app a web URL.  If the compatible app is installed on the device you are using, it will automatically load that app instead of the web version.

Currently, linking between iPhone apps is a tricky task that often involves a number of steps. Google does it with a number of iOS apps, but there is no standard for third-party apps that all developers utilize.  App Links is similar to a product that URX just released called Omnilinks,  which uses meta tags to make connecting with native apps easy for developers.  Facebook also released an API that allows developers to support these features.

“Similar to the proposed methods of Google and Twitter, App Links is Facebook’s proposal for how developers expose their deeplinks to the web via meta tag markup,” said John Milinovich, CEO of URX.  “In addition to their meta tags, Facebook also released an API that lets developers send Facebook a request with a URL to receive a response for the equivalent deep link. This solution works best for deeper native integrations and those who want to go through Facebook to get this mapping. Fortunately, URX OmniLinks already support App Link tags and don’t require any code-level integration for developers to start linking to other apps.”

Facebook’s own apps already support App Links today, but the company has also partnered with a large number of third-party services that now use the service including Spotify, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Deep linking has also been leveraged in the e-commerce space as well in order to redirect users directly inside their already-downloaded and installed mobile apps.  Google recently announced plans to offer targeted app install ads on mobile search and YouTube, following moves made by Facebook as well as Yahoo and Twitter.

As more companies come up with their solutions to fix the interconnectivity problem between apps, we will soon get closer to world where everything works seamlessly together….until then, I will continue to have to click a bunch of times to get to my LinkedIn account from my email…grrrrr.

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