(Bloomberg) -- The giants of the Web have been pressing developers of mobile apps to index their content so it can be parsed by search engines or linked to from other sites. That’s already possible with most Web pages, thanks to pieces of embedded code known as deep links. Imagine a future in which a Google search for a “tulle mini” would call up results from Wish, a fashion app, along with links to e-commerce sites. A Facebook user who wanted to share a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies from the Yummly app would be able to post a link that would take viewers to the relevant page instead of forcing them to download the app first.

So far, the effort has been a bit like herding cats: Only a few thousand apps—a tiny fraction of the millions out there—have adopted the competing tech protocols that Google, Facebook, Apple, and others are pushing.

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