New Facebook mobile boss Erick Tseng is re-organising the company’s mobile efforts around what he calls a “platform strategy.”By that he means Facebook will soon allow mobile app makers to hook into Facebook’s APIs the same way Web developers currently can.
Erick, who came to Facebook from Google just two months ago, thinks mobile developers will take to Facebook’s APIs because “Facebook is nice analogy for what you would do on the phone.”
Your friends list is like your phone’s address book. Your calender is like Facebook Events. The photos you took with your cameraphone make up something like a Facebook photo gallery.
“If you’re a developer you’re not building for all those features yourself.” Facebook, he says, can help fill in the gaps. So for example, Foursquare might some day be able to let users take photos in-app and upload them into Facebook photo albums. We’ve also heard Apple might integrate Facebook features in iOS.
“We’re far far away from having a truly socially-informed mobile experience,” says Erick. “Look for that in 12 to 16 months.”
This is a smart sneaky strategy for Facebook.
While Google, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, and HP spend billions fighting a bitter platform war, Facebook can sit back knowing it owns data all mobile OS-makers and apps-makers are desperate to hook into – the social graph, the self-updating map of connections between the people who literally own their phones in order to make and strengthen those connections. In this way, Facebook’s platform strategy is actually to become the platform of platforms.