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Deep-App-Linking

Deep App Links are a new improvement for 3rd party apps. With it, having your own smartphone app is even more important.

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At the WWDC 2015 Keynote Apple presented a new and improved search experience that will be part of iOS 9. Users will be able to get more information faster and more intuitive. With iOS 9, you can search for more — including sports schedules, Netflix movies, and information inside apps.

The spotlight search on the iPhone now also looks at the current context of the search: the time of day, the location and maybe even your upcoming schedule.

Craig Federighi (Apple) presents Deep Linking on iOS 9.

In the example presented by Apple Craig searches for the beautiful island „Maui“ (Hawaii). As „Top Hits“ we see the AirBnB App (rooms and flats for rent) and the Kayak App (flight search). And below that a Wikipedia article on Maui. The apps are on the first spot!

If a search result is selected, the corresponding App is started, and immediatly shows the app page on Maui. On the top left we see a „back“ button. Pressing the button returns us right to the search results.

The search shows the 2 Apps on the top.

But how can the spotlight-search display information from within the app, and how does spotlight know, which app has the relevant information?

The technology that drives this is called „deep App linking“ or „mobile deep linking“. It is already available with google search on current Android devices and to some extend on iOS. „Deep Link“ refers to the fact, that tzhe search results do not only display which app holds the required information but that the search result links to a specific screen inside the app. With google, the app content must also be created as a web page, that google uses to create an index on the search results. And the content of the web pages must be tagged so that the goolge index can note the app and also which part of the app corresponds to what part of the web page(s).

Apple presents a new API at the developer conference to control the search results. We expect it to be a superset of the google strategies. And already apple warned that if you include too many search terms the app may not be presented to the user as a search result.

To fully support deep linking, the apps have to be programmed in such a way, that single screens can be opened from the search result list. Apmato apps already supprt Android deep linking, and will fully support the new search on iOS 9.

With iOS 9 (announced for fall 2015) deep linking from search results into apps will be available for iPhone / iPad. With it it becomes imminent for every business to be present on the phone with its own app. Talk to us at apmato to learn how we can help you to create or transform your app to support deep linking.

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