Since the release of the App Store from Apple there was this talk about apps killing the web. Particularly this couple months there has been a lot of buzz about this and how the web would be dead in a couple years.
The idea is that people would use the Facebook app instead of using the web site. You would use the Yelp app instead of googling where to go to dinner, and so on.
This not only sounds good but it is actually a trend. Time spent inside apps in mobile phones is greater than web usage as a recent study pointed out.
There are a couple problems with this approach though:
One is that we are considering “apps” as a whole and we should split it in, at least, three categories: gaming/entertainment (like Angry Birds and Netflix), productivity, and informational/news.
For the first two categories I would definitively agree that the apps are killing everything else. My PSP is gathering dust like there is no tomorrow and I would use my basecamp app over any mobile web interface all day long. But for the news and information I don’t think they will ever replace the web.
The nature of the online world there is no app that will ever contain the amount of data (or be able to connect to an API to get it) that could live on a phone. Unless you consider the Google App a real app then nothing is going to beat a quick search on your browser to get some sports result, the definition of “bibulous” or what car brand has the most safe lineup.
There are apps dedicated to some of those things but that leads me to the second problem: discovery.
If you keep yourself within the limits of your apps you are missing a whole world out there. Even if you get news on you USA Today app you might not see what the Washington Post said. Even if you look at the cars.com listings you are missing a bunch of other postings in some other site.
And moreover, how would you find new apps? Just the market? Don’t think so.
Anyway I believe that we will have a long living ecosystem of apps and web for a long while so lets be all friends!