August 2015 - Broken Links Archive

Mobile Browsing Around The World

I find it fas­ci­nat­ing to see the vari­ance in brows­er use in the diverse regions of the world, and nowhere is that vari­ance more appar­ent than in mobile web browsers. While in the West we may be used to Chrome and Safari being more or less the only game in town, else­where in the world the sto­ry is quite dif­fer­ent. In this arti­cle I’m going to take a look at a few charts which illus­trate that difference.

The stats used here are col­lect­ed from the 30 days pri­or to 25th August, tak­en from They come with the usu­al dis­claimer about the impos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting com­plete­ly accu­rate data, and don’t always include fea­ture phone browsers, so should there­fore be treat­ed as indica­tive rather than con­clu­sive. With the caveats out of the way, let’s begin.

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Exploring URL discovery with the Physical Web

One of the emerg­ing con­cepts that I’m fas­ci­nat­ed and excit­ed by is the Phys­i­cal Web. If you haven’t heard of this, a brief and very coarse sum­ma­ry is that it’s the idea of trans­mit­ting URLs from bea­con devices, com­mon­ly using low-ener­gy Blue­tooth (BLE). Cur­rent bea­con schemes are large­ly based on Apple’s iBea­con pro­to­col, which trans­mits a unique ID that requires an app receiv­er to decode and turn into an action. The Phys­i­cal Web’s dif­fer­ence is that URL trans­mis­sion requires no app, decen­tral­is­ing the process.

Mak­ing any device able to trans­mit a URL is rich with pos­si­bil­i­ties: from super low-fric­tion dis­cov­er­abil­i­ty of infor­ma­tion about near­by places (imag­ine a page of search results show­ing only the things imme­di­ate­ly around you), to imme­di­ate inter­ac­tion with near­by phys­i­cal objects. While I’ve still yet to actu­al­ly build any­thing using the Phys­i­cal Web idea, I’ve start­ed to explore what I think it can be use­ful for.

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I’ve updat­ed my Speak­ing page to include more con­fer­ences, more videos, and a lit­tle on my speak­ing require­ments and pref­er­ences. I’m plan­ning to cut down on the num­ber of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to inter­est­ing offers and oppor­tu­ni­ties, so please get in touch if you’re organ­is­ing an event.

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