Forget “The Social Network.”
Facebook mobile leader Erick Tseng, who joined the company from Google’s Android group in 2010, says that the company barely thinks of itself as a social network at all.
Tseng was speaking at the GigaOM Mobilize conference, and was responding to a question about Google+, his old company’s rival service.
“It’s unclear still exactly what I’d go to Google+ for. Or what I’d go to any social network for — there’s a lot you can put into that bucket. Within Facebook, we barely consider ourselves a social network.”
So what does Facebook consider itself?
That is, it’s a way for developers to add social elements to a huge variety of apps, both mobile and desktop. It’s the classic Microsoft strategy — get everybody to start using your product, then let developers extend it in a million different and unforeseen ways. That makes the platform stronger, which draws more developers, and so on in a virtuous cycle.
So if Facebook sees itself as a platform, does that mean it will build an actual mobile platform — like Amazon is reportedly doing with its tablet, or like Google did with Android?
Tseng was deferred the question, saying “we have one principle in the mobile team — every phone should be social….We see a world where you don’t have to think of always going into the Facebook experience just to do something social, it should be pervasive throughout your phone experience, whether you’re on Facebook or a third party app….OEMs like HTC and Sony-Ericsson have taken the Facebook APIs and baked them deep into their apps layer. As far as we’re concerned, that’s a platform.”
In other words, Facebook doesn’t have to build its own phone — all it has to do is get phone makers to bake Facebook in.
Tseng was also cagey about the rumours that Facebook will be at Apple’s big event next Tuesday. When asked why iOS 5 has Twitter integration but no Facebook integration, he said “I think it’d be a great combination. I hope to see it soon.”
No word on the iPad app either, but he reminded users that iPad users can get Facebook in their browsers: “m.facebook.com, works well.”
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.