The Web is Dying—and Google Just Put the Final Nail in the Coffin

Everybody thinks they love the web. How could you not? “Apps” run the same everywhere on any device.

Well, that’s the theory, anyway. But you typically watch a blank screen—or, at best, some colored boxes—while the UI takes time to refresh. Not just once, but over and over again.

Sure, they’re adding new functionality all the time, but web apps are severely limited in what they can do compared to a native app. Yes, there are JavaScript bridges, but that adds more time and complexity.

Even the last bastion of web popularity—news sites and blogs—are now being subsumed by native news outlets like Facebook instant articles and Apple News.

But, but… what about Deep Linking, you ask? Both iOS and Android have deep linking now, so it’s no longer a web-only concept.

But displaying formatted text in a web view is so much easier than creating it on native platforms, you say. Well, since at least version 8, iOS text views have the ability to display HTML-formatted text. This is true even on tvOS on Apple TV, which doesn’t have a web view at all. Problem solved.

And look how things are progressing. Apple Watch doesn’t have any web functionality—and neither does Apple TV. The push is on for native apps.

Surprisingly, it was Google who put the final nail in the coffin.

Google just announced (or, rather, leaked the news) that

ChromeOS is being discontinued and rolled into Android. Sure, there’s the Chrome browser in Android and a web view within native apps, but the writing is on the wall.

Android could’ve been folded into ChromeOS, but that didn’t happen. Chromebooks just never got the traction that Google wanted. Developers weren’t writing apps. Users and businesses weren’t buying them. They did fairly well in education, but that’s about all.

The web, like Linux, is great in theory (and to techies), but average people see no real benefit to it. Native apps are faster and more powerful.

Once you write a native app for, say iPhone, it’s pretty easy to make it work on iPads, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

The same thing is true for Windows 10 (if anybody cares) and will likely be true with a new Android version in 2017, when Chrome is merged into it.

So, it’s time to say goodbye to the web, and hello world to the new reality of native apps.

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6 thoughts on “The Web is Dying—and Google Just Put the Final Nail in the Coffin

  1. Brian says:

    The web isn’t dying. It is evolving. The “web” is a mashup of technologies – originally HTML to describe content layout in static pages to be rendered in a web browser, and HTTP as the protocol to transmit those pages through the pipes (but other protocols were originally part of web browsers such as ftp etc.). Many technologies have been added and taken away from that original idea over the years to improve the experience – CSS for styles, JavaScript for interactivity, but remember Java Applets, Flash, ActiveX, 3DML, were all just native UI rendering engines overlayed onto some mix of the web tech. Native mobile applications take that a step further to better optimize for power and processing constraints, and to better utilize the native UI interactions of the underlying operating system. But the “web” still exists underneath the covers – all of those apps are communicating via layer 7 protocols like http. It is an evolution but the web is still there fusing it all together just like it always has. That is unlikely to change anytime soon.

    • Yes, the Internet—which underlies the web—isn’t going anywhere. In fact, with the booming of cloud services, it’s arguably more important than ever.

      The web—specifically HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as a client-side browser experience—is going away.

    • Sure, web sites are one way to find a small business. But how about Facebook? Google Maps? Apple Maps? Yelp?

      When the Web first came out, people said web sites would never supplant the Yellow Pages. When’s the last time you consulted the Yellow Pages? 🙂

      Things change.

  2. Walid Hammami says:

    Lou, you dismissed AngularJS. I think google wants to port all apps to angular so that developers write to one platform and the app works everywhere. Angular also saves a lot of time in coding and back and forth communication with servers/cloud.

  3. Writing this one year later after this article was published. In my experience being on modern internet from day one I can admit to myself that web really is dying, content is no longer engaging me to browse the website, I grab something what is quick easy and instant, like for instance an app feed instead taking time to going on website and browsing it for information.

    Unless person look for really specific data, otherwise 90% of web is just not interest people no more. For instance I’m gaming addict since 1995, so I do engage in everything that surrounds gaming, yesterday I went about 3-4 gaming websites and didn’t click a single link, just skimmed through.

    Why I did this? Later I logged to my phone where I got apps that delivered me news, I logged to instagram, I logged in to facebook and various groups on it, I saw some pages feed, people feed, everyone shared insights trouble free and quickly. Now some of these people went on web and got that information. But looking to myself and how I used spend hours a day reading websites, I don’t do this anymore, I think that apps and social media is taking over. Reading web look way to artificial to me. (I googled – web is dying and this is how I got here)

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