The Difference Between Apps and Applications

The market is completely saturated with programs. Competition is thick, discoverability low, and redundancy rampant. Every fool and his grandmother are “building an app.” Companies scribble code together just to say they have one, too. I mean, seriously, why the flying hell would I need a Quiznos app?

The joke? “There is an app for that.” Not funny anymore. Why? Because apps like Virtual Lighter cramp valuable shelf space and bury applications that could otherwise have a profound impact on our culture and way of life. As a user and developer, I want to differentiate between “apps” and “applications” in hopes of quelling the former and promoting the latter:
 

  • Apps have narrow vision. Applications have boundless vision.
  • Apps tackle singular functions. Applications tackle multiple related functions.
  • Apps debug. Applications scale.
  • Apps live on devices. Applications live beyond devices.
  • Apps breathe task-based missions. Applications breathe mission-based tasks.
  • Apps are features in disguise. Applications are platforms for numerous integrated features.
  • App has three letters. Application has eleven.
  • Apps code quickly and can be completed. Applications continue to adapt and evolve.
  • Apps are popularized by mass use. Applications are commoditized by mass use.
  • Apps eat free time for breakfast. Applications eat apps for breakfast.
  • Apps are useful in defined use cases. Applications are useful in undefined use cases.
  • Apps are built by programmers and designers. Applications are built by communities.


Please contribute to the list and share it with your app junkie neighbor. Support the development of rich and meaningful applications.

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Will Facebook Rule the Future of Social?

Facebook KingFacebook is very powerful right now, pervading our everyday lives and businesses. And they have no intention of stopping. While not as acquisition-hungry as Google, which has a reputation for buying up every great small business in sight, Facebook is expanding scope like hotcakes. Places, Deals, Marketplace, Photo Recognition, Questions, Games, Groups, Mobile…the list of Facebook products grows everyday.

So my question stands:  Will Facebook rule the future of social?

No, I don’t think so. Facebook, while omnipresent, is not currently based in natural human exchange. Pokes, wall posts and events are digital abstractions of real dialog. The future of social will be…more social.

Facebook is a closed social graph. And by that, I mean it’s A) restricted to the people you “friend,” B) restricted to the people signed up on Facebook and C) restricted to active device users. This type of social network is limiting and far too much effort. Worse, it’s not human. In real life, we meet people and they become acquaintances. We spend more time with people and they become our friends (or enemies). There is no mutual contract, no “friend” button. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson touches on the unnatural effort involved in curating your various network lists when he forecasts the Implicit Social Graph.

Social technology will evolve. I predict that a platform with the most open, implicit social graph and a passive user experience that promotes true human interaction by keeping your phone in your pocket will take the cake as social media king. Facebook is not situated, nor was it founded, to promote such an organic vision.

What do you predict? Do you think Facebook is an unstoppable behemoth or will the value of real life ultimately take it down?

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Imperial Crown (Heraldry) vector art via Wikimedia Commons.