Japan’s Fukurou Labo launches ‘deep linking’ solution for mobile developers

Japan’s Fukurou Labo launches ‘deep linking’ solution for mobile developers

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See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Fukurou Labo, the startup focused on providing marketing solutions for smartphone apps, launched a ‘deep link‘ optimization platform called Circuit in beta. The company started inviting beta test users from app development companies. The service is provided for free during its beta version, and they have no plan about when it will be switched to a paying service.

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Image credit: Facebook Developers

Deep link means the link that lets users jump to a specific page on a mobile app rather than its top page. By using the Circuit platform and embedding its JavaScript tag on your website, it allows users to show them your content via your mobile app rather than a web browser if users have already installed your app into their handsets.

For instance, this solution can be adopted to a service that requests you to input your profile in the login process despite the fact that a native mobile app for the service has already acquired your profile through Facebook login etc. So if you have an account for the service, a native mobile app rather than a web app allows you to skip several input processes, which improves user experience. This is what Circuit can benefit you most.

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Obviously the concept of deep linking, seamlessly connecting a native app and a web app with each other, is similar to App Links that Facebook unveiled at their developers conference in April or Syn. (pronounced as Syn Dot), KDDI’s integrated portal menu for smartphone users in partnership with their alliance companies. This will prevent your users escaping from your service at the time of transition between a web app and a native mobile app.

This kind of solution is still premature on a global level. According to Fukurou Labo’s CEO Sho Shimizu, companies in this space like URX and Deeplink.me launched as recently as in 2013. Branch Metrics is remarkably new and was launched in May this year.

The deep linking issue is likely to come to mind for many people, but why has no one provided a good answer to this to date? In response, Shimizu said this is because of the immense workload rather than the technical complexity involved. It is not so difficult for developers to establish links between apps but it is very time-consuming.

Many developers usually face trouble when creating a link map that specifies link-points connecting a native mobile app and a web app with each other. So this task is usually put off in the entire app development process. Circuit can take care of this mapping process, and adopting this kind of outsourced solutions is a more productive approach, in particular upon maintaining an app after development.

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Fukurou Labo CEO Sho Shimizu

Listening to Shimizu, his words brought to my mind the growth hacking tool PlanBCD, offered by Kaizen Platform. This tool helps developers to improve their apps’ usability simply by embedding a JavaScript tag. Circuit can be seen as bring the app version of PlanBCD. PlanBCD has succeeded in acquiring UX experts using crowdsourced forces.

As with Kaizen Platform I think Shimizu’s firm can also leverage crowdsourced skills in processing tiresome link-mapping tasks. It will be interesting to see how Fukurou Labo can help developers improve user experience in their apps.