Mobile deeplinking company, Deeplink is focused on making native applications on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices function more like the web, in the sense that you should be able tap your way in between apps similar to the way you can tap on hyperlinks to navigate the web. Today, the company is taking a major step forward in making this functionality more widespread with the public beta launch of its Deeplink Marketplace. This marketplace offers tools that allow app developers to more easily integrate deep linking functionality within their own applications to improve upon the user experience they offer, and potentially increase their own bottom lines.
The Marketplace had previously been in private, alpha testing with a small handful of Deeplink’s customers. Though the company won’t disclose the exact size of its customer base, Deeplink co-founder and CEO Itamar Weisbrod tells us that it’s in the “high single-digit thousands,” and mentions in a blog post customers including Shazam, OpenTable, and JackThreads.
Deep linking is a newer concept for mobile, which a number of other companies are also now addressing, including Deeplink competitors like Quixey or URX, as well as all the major Internet companies, like Twitter, Facebook and Google. But what’s missing in the iOS ecosystem is a way for developers to easily enable this functionality in a way that understands what sort of apps are already on the user’s phone or tablet.
That’s where the new Deeplink Marketplace comes in. The site offers developers tools including a new API and SDK that will allow them to integrate deeplinks from the company’s large database into their own applications. That database, says Weisbrod, includes almost all the apps in the App Store, not just those from his own customers.
What this means, from a practical standpoint, is the potential for highly personalized applications whose recommendations are customized based on the apps a user has on their phone. For example, a movie app like Fandango (not a Deeplink.me customer, to be clear), could help users book a restaurant after the movie ticketing process was completed. But instead of just pointing to one app that a customer may or may not use, it could allow consumers to query against those you have installed, whether that’s OpenTable, Yelp, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon or others.
The search results – e.g. sushi near your location – would come from the apps on your phone, and, when tapped, would launch those apps directly.
“In that example, someone like Fandago could offer a better user experience because it’s a lot more relevant to every person,” says Weisbrod. App developers could also create their own deals that took advantage of the deeplinking potential in new ways, and this could help them generate revenue for their business.
However, notes Weisbrod, Deeplink’s goal is not only to serve as an app search API provider. “We actually want our SDKs to understand the context of what just happened in that app, so we will eventually be able to suggest the deeplink of what [the user] should do next.” In other words, apps smart enough to understand a mobile user’s workflow as they move between their applications.
To demonstrate the new deeplink functionality to its potential developer customers, Deeplink has launched a sample application on the App Store called DeepSearch. A simple search app, DeepSearch lets you search inside your apps, and when it can’t find any relevant results, it will search the web. The app is similar to an earlier app called In-App Search which launched this summer, but is far more polished. And most importantly, unlike In-App Search, Deeplink’s search app isn’t its entire business, but rather an example of its technology in action.
As for how the company plans to monetize its deeplinking capabilities, that part is still under wraps. The Marketplace is currently free for beta testers, but Weisbrod hints that the business model will have elements of both inorganic and organic traffic.