Friday, 21 September 2007

On Proxies and Such

Here at Mippin we've been following the discussion about Vodafone UK's mobile adaptation proxy settings pretty closely. If you don't know about it, read this article on TechCrunch UK.

We are directly impacted by Vodafone's proxy settings. Mippin relies on the User-Agent string to tailor our user experience. We have implemented a work around in our system to accommodate the Voda settings. Of course as Luca Passani rightly points out, this doesn't scale over time.

This issue highlights one of the challenges with the Mobile Internet. Our hypothesis is that there is one Internet. To date, it has been primarily accessed via laptops and desktops. As users' time investment in the Internet increases they will want access to the same content away from their big computer and on their small computer, or mobile phones as we currently call them.

This means the web has to become more device and context savvy. Adaptation proxies are one approach, but should be considered a last resort. Content owners need easy to use tools and services to start connecting with mobile audiences today and evolve that interaction over time as they develop a better understanding of their audience's mobile needs and contexts.

For our part, we're going to try to help the content owners. The more content owners we can help the less need there is for adaptation proxies.