Mowser: Glue for the Mobile Web


The nice thing about having a new partner is that I don't have to try to articulate everything we're trying to do all by myself any more. Miker just posted some thoughts about the current state of the Mobile Web and its tendency for each site to be developed with few external links:

Desktop websites do a lot of linking to each other, they feel very much like, well, a web. Thus the name. Mobile sites however tend not to cross link very much. In web terms they look very much like closed silos. Much of the recent movement on the desktop web has been away from silos of information and into services that allow users and other developers to make use of the applications you've provided in a novel way. We're not yet seeing this on the mobile web however. Mobile websites are using the technologies of the wired web to deliver applications, but effectively ignoring or contradicting everything else about the web that has made it work long term.

He continues to analyze the problem, and its effects on the mobile ecosystem. One solution is of course, our service Mowser. You might think that content adaption is only useful for PC sites that want to go mobile or for mobile users that want to view PC sites that don't have mobile versions, but in fact Mowser is useful for dedicated mobile websites as well and as a side effect, the entire mobile ecosystem.

Part of the problem with external linking from mobile sites is that there's no way to guarantee that the site you're linking to is mobile-friendly. So instead of guessing, or sending users off using a link that is useless to them, many mobile sites don't link out at all. This is of course where Mowser comes in - if a mobile website links using Mowser, and the page is meant for PC sites (which will be the case for a long time to come), it will be adapted for the mobile. If the site is mobile, then great! the user will be automatically redirected.

I can think of a variety of mobile sites out there now that could benefit from using Mowser right off the top of my head:

* The various mobile home page sites using feeds to go mobile like Mippin, FeedM8 or Mofuse for example.

* Then there are link directories like Mini-Techmeme, Technorati Mobile, or Digg's official mobile site, DiggRiver.

* All the blogging and social network sites that have mobile versions like Vox, Facebook, or MySpace... They all could benefit from a service which helps guarantee their mobile users aren't left in the cold.

Mowser can really be thought of as glue to help stick the mobile web together. So if you have a mobile website, please feel free to simply start pre-pending to your urls - we'd love the traffic!



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