By Dan Grover, this is a consistently fun and stimulating piece, and it also comes out in favor of China’s WeChat. Here is one excerpt:
QR Codes — When I left the US, QR codes were a joke. Putting them on things was a way to tell people you’re a douche, like using lots of hashtags or wearing a Bluetooth headset. They were once this way in China, too, until WeChat doubled-down on them. Now, they’re used for people, group chats, brands, payments, login, and more. They’re in plenty of other apps as well. In a place where everyone has adopted them and knows how to scan them, they’ve become a wonderful, fast way to link the offline and online worlds that saves untold amounts of time. But they have a few downsides. One is that they look like robot barf. The other is that, at least here, if you scan a code in the wrong app, you’ll get a webpage telling you to go install the right app, if not something totally inscrutable. Something that was once defined as an open standard is now non-inoperable. I predict great things for Facebook and Snapchat’s de-uglified take on QR codes. Still, I wish my phone’s OS could scan any such code (or detect them in photos) and do the right thing, but it seems the window of opportunity has passed for this.
I want the first tab of my OS’s home screen to be a central inbox half as good as my chat app’s inbox. It want it to incorporate all my messengers, emails, news subscriptions, and notifications and give me as great a degree of control in managing it. No more red dots spattered everywhere, no swiping up to see missed notifications. Make them a bit richer and better-integrated with their originating apps. Make them expire and sync between my devices as appropriate. Just fan it all out in front of me and give me a few simple ways to tame them. I’ll spend most of my day on that page, and when I need to go launch Calculator or Infinity Blade, I’ll swipe over. Serve me a tasty info burrito as my main course instead of a series of nachos.
Recommended, including for those of you who don’t see the Chinese as innovators.