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Vodafone hooks up with Facebook and Match.com

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Vodafone is to be the first operator to make use of Facebook's new Mobile Operators Platform, and has also signed a deal with dating site Match.com.

Facebook has been available on mobiles for a while, in a frequently-clumsy fashion and officially unsupported. Using the new platform should ensure everything works smoothly and without techie hitches, so users can waste just as much time on their mobiles as they do on the desktop.

That's all assuming they want to. The problem with putting social networks onto mobile phones is that very little of what people do on Facebook has anything to do with being social, or networking. Mostly users are mucking about sending cute animations or trivia-quiz challenges, and unless all those things work on the mobile then Facebook simply becomes a badly-designed email client.

Mobile access to a dating site also seems a little impulsive, though it gives one the potential to hook up with a new partner even as the old one throws your stuff from their window. Most of us have the patience to wait until we're in front of a PC before searching for love.

At least Match.com can charge you for their services - Facebook can't even serve up advertisements to mobile users, and sees the whole process as building its customer base rather than actually making money.

Mobile social networking is going to be the big push at next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with everyone and their brother offering the "Facebook Experience" on a mobile phone. But until they can recreate the stupidity of the majority of Facebook applications, and find some way to make money from them, then social networking will remain a desktop experience at best. ®

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