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URX Provides Cross-platform Deep Linking, Indexing and Routing

| by Abel Avram Follow 12 Followers on Oct 29, 2014. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

URX is providing Omnilinks, an open deep linking standard, an application index containing deep linked mobile apps and link routing.

The Internet has provided the possibility for deep linking from its inception, a web deep link being no different than regular links. But as mobile becomes more and more pervasive, the desire for deep linking into mobile applications grows, but this is not as simple as its web cousin. Deep linking enables mobile devices to take users to a certain application and a certain page within that application when interacting with the link. This is attractive for search providers which can link search results to content within mobile apps. The same would apply to advertisers: not only a user would be informed of the name of a restaurant, but he can be taken to a map application showing the location of the restaurant and directions on to get there.

Interested in search and/or advertising, a number of large Internet companies have launched their own deep link solutions, along with APIs and SDKs: AppLinks (Facebook), App Indexing (Google), and App Cards (Twitter). AppLinks intends to be a cross platform solution that connects any application joining their ecosystem. App Indexing is a way of connecting Google search, advertising and analytics with Android applications. App Cards enable interaction with mobile apps from within Twitter Cards.

URX has been working on yet another standard, Omnilinks, a solution that embraces all the previously mentioned deep linking options along with an index and an API. Omnilinks are very similar to App Indexing ones, but are targeting all major mobile OSes. The following are samples of URX links:

<link rel="alternate" media="screen and (os: android)" href="android-app://com.sample.android/sample/page1"/>
<link rel="alternate" media="screen and (os: ios)" href="ios-app://456788990/sample/page1"/>
<link rel="alternate" media="screen and (os: windows)" href="windows-phone-app://456788990/sample/page1"/>

Mobile developers that want to use Omnilinks need to map a URI scheme for their application and to map the apps’ URIs to the website’s URIs. Then the application is submitted for indexing. But URX is also crawling the web and is indexing AppLinks, App Indexing and App Cards links, so those who have already deep linked their apps do not need to do anything else. A number of apps have been indexed already, including 500px, AirBnB, Booking.com, eBay, Etsy, Google Play, HBO Go, to name a few.

If developers want to create a single deep link that works across devices, they can prefix the link with “urx.io” which routes the call to the appropriate mobile application if it is installed, or it falls back to the associated web page.

Another possibility is to use the iOS or Android SDKs to enable a mobile app to dynamically search URX’s index for other applications that could handle a specific content and deep link into that application, transferring the user to it. The documentation contains iOS, Android and web code samples. URX has recently launched a number of showcasing applications demonstrating what can be done with their API: Access Point (iOS), South Park Times (iOS), Baquery (Android), and Lockfeed (Android).

They have also opened up the beta program to the general public, inviting developers to request API keys for development.

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