Today Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg hosted a “mobile event” at Facebook HQ in California. Almost immediately Zuckerberg shot down rumors of a Facebook cell phone–rats! What they really called the press event for was to express their interest in “making mobile more social.” Let’s breakdown the new Facebook app enhancements.
(1) Single sign on. This makes logging into your FB account in multiple apps a snap, as long as the developer incorporates the FB single sign on API inside their app. Here’s how it works: Once you log into the FB app on your phone, you can then log in to any other app that supports single sign on without typing in your username and password. No more tedious typing, no more worrying about forgetting your password. The following Android apps support single sign on today: Flixster, Groupon, Loopt, SCVNGR, Yelp, and Zynga Poker. These updated apps will make their way to the iPhone “soon.” And loads more are on the way. (video demonstration)
(2) Location APIs. This one is directed towards the developer community, but it will result in significant upgrades for users. Today Facebook has opened up all three location APIs for developers: read where your friends are; write and publish check-ins; search for relevant places. Up until now, mobile users could only see in the news feed people checking into locations using Places only. Now that developers have access to the location APIs, they can make their apps support Facebook location notifications. For example, now you can check into a location using Foursquare, Loopt, or Yelp (and many others) and this information will show up on your mobile and desktop news feed. In other words, Places can now be integrated into third party apps so users can see and interact with their FB friends within other apps.
(3) Deals platform. Facebook has teamed up with many local businesses to provide users with a new “deals platform.” Here’s how it works. With Places users can sign in to locations (ie. a restuarant) and share where you are with friends and see which of your friends might be nearby. The updated version of Places incorporates deals notifications. Local business will be able to offer users deals when you check in to their place using FB on your phone. Now when you search for nearby places a yellow icon will appear next to those places that are offering deals. Click the yellow icon to view the deal, check in to Places to claim it, and then show it to the cashier to receive your discount. Note that these deals run on the merchant side, not Facebook. There are four type of deals: “individual deals for a discount, free merchandise or other reward; friend deals where you and your friends claim an offer together; loyalty deals for being a frequent visitor to a place; and charity deals where businesses pledge to donate to a cause when you check in. Business like Chipotle, Gap, and McDonald’s are already supporting the deals platform. Click here to view the current list supporters. Deals works on the Facebook for iPhone app and at touch.facebook.com on other mobile devices. (video demonstration)
In addition to these three major announcements, Zuckerberg also set aside time to discuss software updates to the Android and iPhone version of the Facebook app. The Android 1.4 update brings Places and Groups to the app and a refresh to the notifications application. Facebook says, “Clicking on a notification now won’t send you off to the browser. Instead, as long as that notification has an appropriate destination within the application itself, you will be taken there.” Score! The iPhone 3.3 update brings Deals and Groups to the app, along with a starred friends list in Places and a new Photos composer. Both free updates are available to download right now.
[Via FacebookBlog, here & here]