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Mobile in the ‘pre-pagerank’ phase, by John Lilly — Medium

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Benedict Evans has a tremendously good analysis of Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp up that’s highly worth reading.

It’s a wonderful analysis of Facebook’s motivations, but in my mind, here’s the most relevant idea for thinking about the future:

Mobile social apps are not, really, about free SMS. Mobile discovery and acquisition is a mess — it’s in a ‘pre-pagerank’ phase where we lack the right tools and paths to find and discover content and services efficiently. Social apps may well be a major part of this, as I discussed in detail here. These apps have the opportunity to be a third channel in parallel to Google and Facebook.

That's a fascinating thought, considering that Google and Facebook want to dominate the third channel.

Thanks, fascinating.  

"So I have very little idea what precisely I would mean if, in 5 years, I were to say 'I installed an app on my smartphone'. Further, I'm pretty sure that if it's an Apple smartphone it will run an iteration of iOS but I'm rather less sure what Google will have done with Android and Chrome by then. And of course I might be running a fork of Android from Amazon or, perhaps, Microsoft. 

This is the key reason why the new social messaging apps are so interesting - not because they have users and inventory now, but because they can be vectors for some of this sort of behaviour - a third acquisition, discovery and distribution channel besides Facebook and Google."


Four years ago the popular messaging apps were apps hardly anyone uses now:

Things can change very quickly. 

Even as vectors for the behavior people might move to something new if it's better. 

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