At an event on Wednesday at Facebook HQ, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was modifying to its mobile platform to make it easier to sign on and releasing revamped iPhone and Android apps. Zuckerberg also denied the existence of a dedicated Facebook phone.
Three changes to the mobile platform were being touted by Zuckerberg and his team at today’s event. The first is that users will only have to sign in one time on mobile Facebook, and that sign-in will make it easier to sign in to other sites and services that incorporate Facebook’s API. Execs from Zynga, the maker of Farmville, and Groupon both demonstrated single sign-on on their sites, so people can use their Facebook credentials to use their sites faster.
Second, Facebook’s mobile platform will open up the “write Location API,” so any site can incorporate a Facebook location. There will also be the ability of users who have opted in to see where their friends currently are and read data about what they are up to. “Our goal is not to build a location app, but a location platform,” Zuckerberg said.
Thirdly, a new Deals platform will now exist so local businesses can offer specials and services to Facebook Places users who are nearby. Users will be able to see a list of nearby places that are offering deals. Facebook is launching Deals with 22 partners such as Gap, McDonald’s, and Chipotle. The company also said its partners would be offering some promotions to show off the service. For example, the Gap will be offering a free pair of blue jeans to the first 10,000 to check-in to the Gap on an upcoming day that will be revealed later. A full list of partners is in the picture above.
Zuckerberg and Erick Tseng, Facebook’s head of mobile, also briefly talked about launching revamped iPhone and Android apps with more features. The iPhone apps will now have Groups and an update to Places that lets you add a picture to you location. The updated Android app will add Places and Groups functionality. The new Android app will be available today and the revamped iPhone app should be coming down the pipeline “soon.”