Microsoft introduces “The Companion Web”; a Utopia for mobile devices

All of us use the World Wide Web every day to connect to our favorite services and we increasingly do so through mobile devices and tablets. According to Microsoft sources, everyday an additional 3.6 million devices are activated worldwide. If that is not enough proof to portray that we live in a connected world then consider this; that number is five times larger than the number of babies born each day. Because of this global expansion rate, Microsoft has introduced a concept known as “The Companion Web”.

The company’s Companion Web “is all about a world where experiences move seamlessly across the multiple screens around us”. According to Microsoft, more than 80% of smartphone users in America use their devices while watching TV; out of those users, 4 in 5 are using their devices to look up content about the show or program they are currently watching.

The problem that Microsoft sees is that using multiple devices together doesn’t create a rich enough experience. The company’s Senior Product Manager for Internet Explorer had the following statement to make:

“The majority of sites on the web are built for only one device at a time… we have to do the work to piece together a unified experience. But what if we didn’t have to search on our tablet when we saw something interesting on TV, but instead the information we were looking for came to us?

Microsoft partnered up with their friends at Polar to create an example of how “The Companion Web” idea can be implemented. The example demonstrates the use of a Microsoft Surface and iPhone during a TV show to enhance user experience.

From what we can piece together at the moment, “The Companion Web” simply seems to be a call to action to developers and nothing more. Microsoft has already made some headway in the field of multi-device simultaneous interaction with their Xbox SmartGlass product; it has yet to pick up the popularity the company had hoped, but there is still hope on the horizon.

What do you think about “The Companion Web” – an unborn dream or an unnecessary gimmick?

Source: Exploring IE, Thanks to Dustin for the tip!

Michael Archambault