The app world keeps getting more confusing. When you mention the biggest tech buzzword of this past year, the average consumer assumes you're referring to a tiny piece of software that you download to a mobile device. This is, in part, thanks to marketing giant Apple. Late last year the Cupertino-based company was awarded the trademark saying, “There's an app for that,” a phrase commonly heard in their television ads.
While Apple continues to dominate app headlines, Google is quickly moving in on their turf. This week CBS announced their newest app, which is not for the iPad (although they do serve this platform too), but instead it's available for Google's popular browser Chrome, in its integrated Web Store. CBSNews.com says its “the first primetime news magazine show to have its own standalone web application.”
Being first isn’t all that important, as Techcrunch writer Robin Wauters comments 60 Minutes for Chrome “doesn't really do anything but take you to this page,” but he agrees with many people who are saying it is perhaps the prettiest way to watch the popular television program.
Thanks to technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and lots of animation, the app is very slick. It takes 60 Minutes from a two-dimensional program you see on television and provides it with multiple layers of glossy depth. There is high-quality video content, access to the show's exclusive online programming, and a shiny index of the show's many correspondents who appear to jump off the screen like digital wax figures.
Front and centre within the app is a story about Steve Jobs, which aired Sunday October 23, 2011. The first 15 minutes are presented beautifully on-screen, occupying your browser's real estate pretty much from top to bottom, side to side. Compare this exquisite design to the 60 Minutes ' web site, and it's like toggling between the future and the lamely cluttered designs that dominate today’s online world
It seems unlikely that everyone is going to watch all their TV on Chrome, but as the viewing options for consumers continue to expand across mobile and web platforms you can bet that large media companies will be forced to constantly reinvent themselves like this as they to navigate an increasingly fragmented digital audience.