Facebook has announced a new mobile feature that might just make browsers obsolete.
OK, maybe not, but you may be using your browser a lot less if you're using Facebook.
It's called App Links, and it lets apps link to other apps without having to involve a browser.
In other words, if I'm in a messenger app and I tap on a link to a photo hosted on Instagram, that link should take me directly to that image in the native Instagram app and not open up a mobile browsing window with the image.
This app-to-app linking, called mobile deep linking, exists now but is difficult for developers. The technology works differently on different platforms, but Facebook is trying to unify the process.
Using App Links, developers can put meta tags in their web pages that direct to specific applications on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Tapping a link to a Spotify song in say, Facebook Messenger, will take me directly to that song in the Spotify app. I won't get booted to a mobile page asking me to login, I'll just go directly to the app on my phone and the song I clicked on.
As developers use this new feature, expect to use your browser less and less from Facebook.