Facebook announced App Links at its F8 conference last year. It’s an open protocol that enables developers to make deep app content linkable from other apps and services. One app can link to a piece of content from another app, and if the user has both apps installed on their device, that second app will open the content.
App Links is essentially an attempt to make the mobile app ecosystem more like the web in that it’s built on content linking to other content, as opposed to a vast array of walled gardens.
Facebook says it has so far seen over 1,000 developers create more than 7 billion App Links-enabled URLs.
In May, Bing talked about some ways it’s working to better surface mobile apps. This includes App Links. In fact, it launched a new App Links markup tester tool in Bing Webmaster Tools, which extracts App Links data from pages and performs a validation process.
A new post on the Facebook Developers blog talks about how the company is “growing the App Links community with Bing.”
“Microsoft recently announced the Bing search engine will support App Links,” Facebook’s Nancy Xiao tells developers. “Bing is expanding its search index to include apps and app actions so content from App Links enabled apps can appear in mobile Bing search results. This can help drive more installs, engagement, and re-engagement for your app.”
“Bing has embraced App Links as one of the open standards for app publishers to participate in our index of Apps and App actions – which allows our searchers to naturally discover and re-engage with their apps directly from Bing and Bing-powered search,” adds Vincent Wehren, Senior Product Lead for Bing.
Facebook says it will continue investing in the App Links ecosystem and add support to more of its products and services, noting that it has already done so in ads. It’s unclear exactly what products and services Facebook is referring to. One possibility could be Messenger, which is getting more and more of its own features and becoming something much greater than Facebook’s chat’s feature. In fact, you don’t even have to be a Facebook user to use it anymore. It also now has its own platform.
Instagram is also becoming a major marketing force, and Facebook is finally getting serious about monetizing it with recently announced ad initiatives. Don’t be surprised to see new App Links functionality there either.
Developers can find the documentation for App Links here.
In terms of Bing’s role, look for a renewed focus on search thanks to a new deal with AOL. This could mean new search ad-based opportunities for app content.
Images via Bing, Facebook