In the last few months, I have noticed that a lot of the websites that I have visited have been offering apps. It gets quite annoying after a while, as every time I visit the website, I am greeted by a modal pop-over asking me if I would like to install their app. The pop-over, invariably has a very large button to take you to Google Play Store (formerly known as “Android Market”) with a quite small link underneath it with a “continue to website” text.
I appreciate that some websites would like all of us to install their app to access the content of their site, but from experience, I have found that most of these apps are no different to visiting the website using a browser. I read the content, I don’t block the ads (except for Flash ones, which I cannot do anything about) and I have set my browser to accept cookies. Short of paying them money, I have tried to be as friendly as possible to the website, its advertisers and its analytics program.
Maybe there is reason why they want everyone to just install their app. Maybe it gives them a more captive audience, but to be truthful, most of these websites that have asked me to install apps are usually news aggregators so it means that with a lot of them, if I want to read more, I have to follow links to another site, with the original content. This means that my browsing experience is then broken (I have to jump from an app to a browser). This is quite annoying once you have used a few of these apps.
While I am not opposed to the ideas around a news app, I find that sometimes it is just better to stick with the app that I already have, which will work on various news sites and their outbound links. It’s called the browser.