Facebook launched a whole heaping helping of mobile stuff today. Fun fact: President Obama had the audacity to hold a live press conference at the same time. What’s with that guy?! And the Giants had their World Series parade at the same time. What’s with those guys?!
Here’s what’s coming from Facebook.
Updates to the iPhone and Android apps. The iPhone will get the new “Groups” feature and an improved “Places” feature. Android will get Places and Groups, as well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remarked that the Android app will now get updated more closely in line with the iPhone app.
“There’s been this rumor going around that Facebook’s going to build a phone,” said Zuckerberg, “No.”
Facebook will instead continue developing for the mobile web, and rely on developers to create phone-specific apps. In order to spur that process along, the company will be implementing a few new features:
1. Single sign-on
You’ll log into Facebook once, and then any third-party mobile site that supports Facebook’s sign-on credentials will let you log in without re-entering your username and password.
2. Location API (application programming interface)
Developers will be able to make third-party apps that read where your friends are, allow you to check in to places, and send that information back to Facebook. For instance, you can see if one of your friends checked in somewhere near you using an app like Loopt or Yelp. Basically, the Facebook “Places” features will be available from within other apps.
Facebook’s new “Deals” feature will let local businesses push deals out to their existing customers and attract new customers based on proximity.
For example, you can pull up nearby restaurants offering deals. If you find a deal you like, you check in at that particular business’ location and you’ll get a coupon returned to your phone. Merchants can set up the deals they want to offer directly through Facebook, so the process is pretty straightforward.
Gap, for instance, will be giving away coupons for free pairs of jeans to the first 10,000 people to check in at its retail stores (the date hasn’t been announced yet). There are charity deals, too. North Face will donate $1 to every check in at a national parks its partnered with.
More info from Facebook’s blog:
More on Techland: