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Understanding why an app-supported link opens in the browser first

This is primarily an attempt at understanding what’s going on (and whose fault the shitty UX is ?). I don’t think there’s anything I can do to fix it and that’s fine, I’m okay with that.

The situation

I have a subscription to the New York Times. I have their app installed, and I’m subscribed to their email newsletter. When I open one of these emails, they contain a link to the article at the end, which looks like https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/[id]. This obviously contains an article reference, as well as probably some tracking code for my subscription.

When I click that link in Gmail…

What I would love to happen is:

Android’s app selector dialog pops up and asks me whether I’d like to open this in the NYT app, or one of my browsers.

The app is fine, but sometimes I might want to have it in the browser instead for various reasons.

What I would expect to happen is:

That it just jumps directly to the NYT app.

Not my prefered solution, but I think my use case is bit unusual and just going to the app is probably what most users would expect after installing the app.

What actually happens:

Android’s app selector dialog pops up and asks me to select one of my browsers (but not the NYT app!). After selecting one, the browser pops up for a split second, then makes way for the NYT app.

What… the hell!?

That makes no sense, is a bad experience and provides no benefits!

Whose fault is this? Does the app not register the correct URL intent? If so, any theories as to why they didn’t?
Or is this a flaw in Android’s intent system and the app did the best it could?
Or do the browsers do anything they’re not supposed to? (I have Chrome and Flynx installed, btw. With intentionally none of them selected as a ‘default’ — I want to get the selector modal each time.)

Android Enthusiasts Asked by hheimbuerger on January 1, 2021

1 Answers

One Answer

I guess the NYT app registers itself as URL handler for https://nytimes.com URLs, but not for https://nl.nytimes.com. This is why only the browsers can be selected.

Then nl.nytimes.com page redirects to the main nytimes.com page, and the NYT app can take over.


And all this probably happens in the name of tracking, so that the NYT newsletter people see what content people like most.

Answered by cweiske on January 1, 2021

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