Feeds

Facebook unveils Facebook Phone mobile hooks

Single sign-on, location APIs, e-coupons on the go

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Facebook has introduced a handful of mobile tools, including single sign-on for third-party apps, a new Facebook Places location write API, and a "Deals" platform, which allows local businesses to offer e-coupons to Facebookers who are nearby.

The company is not building a phone. "There's this rumor out there that we're building a phone," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said today during an event at company headquarters in Palo Alto. "Uh, no."

With single sign-on, if a user is already signed into Facebook, he can log in to third-party apps with one click. Erick Tseng, vp for Facebook Mobile, said the company is releasing an updated mobile SDK that allows developers to take advantage of single sign-on.

In August, the social network unveiled Facebook Places, which encourages users to publish their location. Today, David Fetterman, lead engineer of the Facebook Development Platform, unveiled the company's new Facebook Places APIs, saying developers can now read data showing where users are located as well as write such data and search Facebook's database of locations. Via the write API, third-party apps can allow users to "check in" to their current location - i.e. publish it to the platform.

With "Deals," businesses can offer deals to Facebookers on the go. A movie theater, for instance, could offer free tickets to the first 100 Facebookers who "check in" to the theater. The company said that users will receive these deals if they're already connected to a business on Facebook or if their friends take advantage of a deal. Users can also actively seek out deals in their particular location.

The Deals platform is only available in the US. But the company plans to roll it out internationally.

Asked about user privacy, Tseng said that users always have the option of hiding their location. He said that as the company explained when it unveiled its Facebook Places service in August, users must opt-in to sharing their location. "We never share location without the user's consent," he said.

Prior to today's event, many speculated that Facebook would reveal plans for some sort of Facebook-happy handset. In late September, Bloomberg revived rumors of a Facebook phone, saying it would be rolled out in April of next year. But just days before, the company denied it was "building a phone." The company also said it was working on "deeper integration with some manufacturers."

In the past, Zuckerberg has endorsed the INQ1, from boutique phone builder INQ, as the ideal phone for Facebookers. INQ embraced Android last fall.

Today, the company also announced that it's updating the Facebook iPhone app, adding Facebook Groups and refreshing Facebook Places, and it's releasing a new version of the Facebook Android app. Zuckerberg says he believes the two apps have achieved near parity.

The Android app should be available today.

Zuckerberg said that more than 200 million people are now using Facebook on their mobiles. The figure, he said, tripled over the past year. ®

Update: This story has been continually updated with additional information from Facebook's press event.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.