The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Which bank will be first to embrace the mobile browser?

Chris from FT does a review here of a panel session at the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco yesterday. The headline is the statement from Vic Vic Gundotra, Google Engineering vice president and developer evangelist:

App Stores are not the future – Google

… the web had won and users of mobile phones would get their information and entertainment from browsers in future. He claimed that even Google was not rich enough to support all of the different mobile platforms from Apple’s AppStore to those of the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android and the many variations of the Nokia platform.

Everyone will see Google’s best interest in that claim. However there is a certain logic to the claim for three reasons. Bear in mind I am looking at 2015 and beyond here. In the meantime we will see app stores everywhere:

  1. Customer convenience: looking at some folks iphones reminds me of the web in 1996. Full of discreet applications that can be both forgettable, confusing and just lost. In web land the integration point is the browser, not the "Start" button.
  2. Cost and practicality: this is the point Vic made above. too many platforms and the high degree of proprietary development in phone land means applications as a medium are not scaleable [unless everyone has the same phone]
  3. support for the cloud: whether we know or believe it or not, the ‘cloud’ will represent a large part of our internet activity in the decades to come. This will be driven by trust, security and convenience. Imagine never worrying about back ups, replacing or losing your device. Your persona is always waiting in the cloud. The browser seems best suited to access the cloud. And yes the security concerns will be addressed.

Relevance to Bankwatch:
i am thinking here for the longer haul, and mobile browser development for a bank would be for experimental development now rather than mainstream. One reason for this is the standards matter. The article mentions html 5 and the additional power this brings to browsers from standardisation, and elimination of more proprietary plug-ins. HTML 5 is still vapourware until the likes of Apple accept it.

However the direction remains clear for the reasons above, and this is a good time to experiment with a bank app in the browser. Note how Google have developed a link from the iphone GPS into their search page. The nature of this integration could be a clue to unique fingerprints that could be attached to a browser application that would supplement other security measures for banking in the iphone browser. just a thought.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 17, 2009 at 12:06

Posted in Uncategorized

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