Apps World 2013

Bypassing the browser to convert intent into action

A technology evangelist wants to break the browser's stranglehold on the web and enable people to go from intent to action in an instant.

Speaking at the Apps World conference in London today, James Whittaker, a 'distinguished technology evangelist' for Microsoft, said that the technology already exists to allow apps to predict users’ intent and make suggestions for relevant services, products or information, without the need to manually browse the web.

Geo-location services built into mobiles and search history make it easy for what he calls "super apps" – apps which have lots of users and lots of latent intent, such as email clients, social media platforms and other communication services – to pick up the intent in messages and convert that into a suggestion instantly.

James Whittaker, Microsoft "My ultimate goal here is to make users do less work," he said. "I'm suggesting that browsers and search engines aren't the only option. Your email, your social network app is perfectly capable of doing that search and browse function as well, in fact capable of doing it better because these knowledge graphs are getting better and better.”

Whittaker even envisages a future in which service providers will instantly compete with each other for users’ business in a spot market the instant they book a flight, suggest a rendezvous or look for functionality that an app could provide.

“Email is the place where a lot of intent occurs,” he said. “All sorts of recommendations you would ordinarily use the web for, or an app store for, they are going to be resolved exactly where they occur.

“That’s the idea behind intent commerce, being able to capture the intent no matter where they occur, email, SMS, whatever, and be able to resolve them in place.”


The full interview with James Whittaker is available on Sound Cloud:

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