Facebook just took the wraps off three new mobile features. Two are consumer facing, one is for developers.
The biggest news is “deals,” which is just what it sounds like. You can see deals and discounts at various businesses through Facebook Places.
Walk down the street, open the Facebook app, and boom you can find a discount.
Facebook is also bringing “connect” to mobile apps through “single sign-on.” This will be convenient for users, and it will (theoretically) make apps that use it more social.
The last thing, which is for developers, Facebook opened up the Places API, so developers can bake more location data into their apps.
Here are our live notes from the event:
1:35: While we wait, here’s what we think could be announced: iPad app, something on Facebook Places, a surprise!
1:36: Here we go…it’s Zuckerberg.
Talking about walking his dog, and some old lady asked him what he’s launching today. Laughs, they normally aren’t following tech blogs.
A bunch of stuff to talk about regarding the mobile platform they’re building.
1:37: Zuckerberg is VERY loose and entertaining. This is the best we’ve seen him on these. Now 200 million actively using Facebook mobile products. This is bigger than Android or iPhone, only thing that’s bigger is the mobile web itself. Gives us a good base for developers to build on.
1:38: Last year at 65 million, we have tripled.
1:39: Groups has been one of the most successful things we have launched.
We’re updating Places in iPhone app. Improving tagging. What makes us different is where you are and who you’re with. Tagging is a core feature to get mainstream adoption of location feature.
1:40: Zuckerberg, “jamming through,” to get to platform update. More on Places — adding images to it.
1:41: We’re refreshing Android app. Traditionally it has been behind. We were going to work with an Android shop to build our app, but right before that happened, Google bought the company. That sucked. But now, we’re back on track. Places is multiples higher than other location apps. We think Android will give it a big boost.
1:42: Platform stuff — rumour that Facebook is going to build a phone. “Uh No.” Our goal is to make everything social. Our view that a lot of industries will become social. Key to that is developers can make things that are social. No matter what enviroment you build on you have people there. We have stuff on RIM, Android, iPhone Windows, and the mobile web. This is the approach “and we’re going to stick with it for a while.”
1:44: We’re talking about what you can use to build on today.
Here we go…single sign-on. We think this will make things better.
1:46: We will open up the write API so any app can use the location store, and build apps from there. Places should be a location platform, not an app. Also open up platform for stores to give deals to people. That will be an open platform too. Build social applications.
1:47: That’s what we’re doing today.
1:48: Here’s Erick Tseng. It sucks to have to log in on your phone. Every second counts. Single sign-on will save you time.
1:51: Mihir Shah of Groupon is there. He’s demonstrating the single sign-on service.
1:54: Tseng is back. He’s going to show how you can have intereactive experience with your friends.
1:55: Justin Cinicolo from Zynga is demoing the single sign-on. Zynga poker is going to be on the Android platform. This is the first game that was on Facebook. It will be first Zynga game on Android. We need to make our games available anywhere, so that’s why we’re on Android. We want it to be as painless as possible, that’s why we’re using single sign-on.
1:57: Tseng back — this shows how easy it is to bring your friends with you. That’s the true power we have here. Loopt, Zynga, Groupon, Yelp, Flixster, BooYah are all partners to launch. Launching first on Android.
1:58: Today is an update to the Android SDK to use these tools. Later comes update to iOS SDK.
1:59: Mobile and location go hand in hand. Here comes Dave Fetterman Engineering Manager, Facebook.
1:59: When stuff changes, is when you add new data to the graph. There’s things that are fundamentally only available on mobile. Stuff like location. Not just a node in the graph. Starting to build data with location. We’re opening this API. We did open a read API before. Stuff like where your friends have checked in. But we’re opening read, write and search. What does it mean? You can see where friends are. You can write checkins.
2:02: If you checkin now with Yelp, you could show up in a news feed. Facebook is integrating other services into Facebook so you can see if all your friends are around. Here’s Sam Altman from Loopt.
2:04: Loopt is launching single sign on with Android. Your connected into loopt through Facebook. Launch the map and you can see where your friends are. OOF. Loopt demo, the app is crashing.
2:06: People want social first experience. Now you can see where your friends go. Now you can say, hey Dave what’s good in Palo Alto? This social view first. Is a great way to move forward.
2:07: Here is Fetterman again. Mobile social local. You’ll get it with Facebook now. This will helpe developers build the next generation of applications.
2:10: Tim Kendall director of Monetization is here to talk deals. Now merchants can push out deals, attract proximate customers. Say you’re walking down the street, you can see who is offering a deal. You can see bars offering a free beer or free beers. You get a deal icon next to each place. You checkin, you claim the deal. Two clicks, and you get 50% off coffee.
2:12: People can interact with local businesses.
2:13: We created a very very easy way to creat these…here’s Emily White, director of local at Facebook. For local businesses, it hasn’t been very clear about why they need to be online. Now its clear, turn people into real customers.
2:14: You’ll be shocked at how easy it is. To set up a deal, you have one page. I give lines of description. How many deals, when it starts, when it ends. We have individual deal. We have loyalty, friend and charity.
We have punch marks for loyalty for each time someone uses it.
If you have friends you can get deals.
Then last one — checkin for charity. You can donate money to a charity for checking in.
2:16: GAP is one of the first clients. They’re giving away 10,000 pairs of jeans. They’ll give you 40% off. Alamo drafthouse Cinema. It’s a hip movie theatre in Texas. When you checkin, you get free Facebook pint glass. Theatre with most checkins will do a free movie screening.
2:17: North Face will give $1 to charity anytime someone checks in at North Face.
2:18: Palms, you get 3rd night free if you checkin for 2 night stay.
2:18: Golden State Warriors, if you checkin you can get access to a VIP event with a player later on.
2:19: Just a sample of some of the premier partners. We’ll be open this to 20,000 small businesses. We’re created a deal for Cafe X, which is where you are. Checkin and get a free lunch.
2:20: Here’s Zuckerberg. So. Everyone that worked on it, stand up…not a lot of people building this stuff. We just launched Places two months ago. The fact the team is moving so fast, is impressive. You guys are doing an awesome job. That seems like enough for today, what do you think?
2:21: In closing…you can rethink any product area to be social. Big chance for disruption. Now, questions.
2:22: How does Facebook ensure privacy? Erick — there is no change from what we said in August. We are very careful. You can look at our new privacy page, too. Every third party you see involves the user opting in.
2:25: What about businesses pushing deals out? Tim — yes, if you’re friend is checkedin to a place. If you interact with a friend. We’re being deliberate about not pushing beyond proximate. We don’t think relevant if you’re far away. We’re starting conservatively. Today if you are a business and you put out a deal, you can advertise on Facebook.
2:28: Where is the iPad app? Zuckerberg iPad is not mobile, it’s a computer, it’s a different.
Erick — Bigger question at hand, how do we tackle this category. So, there’s a broader question, how do we scale without locking in to a certain platform.
Zuck — iPad not mobile like a phone. Not trying to be rude here.
2:30: How are you getting places entered? Fetterman — users can create Places, we have a database, we’re trying to make sure that’s accurate.
2:34: Where is the money going on deals? We don’t get paid on the deals. It’s good for users and the businesses. It’s great for businesses and users.
2:37: When is Android app ready? Right now. Deals internationally? Not today…later though.
Will you add Facebook Credits with single sign-on? Zuckerberg — Not today. We can’t right now with some of these platforms, anyway.
2:39: How do you prevent fraud? Zuck — you have to present it to someone directly, so hard to fake it.
How many people using Places? Zuck — no public stats. It’s going well. Before today, Places was primarily iPhone. We know it’s mulitples greater than any other service, we’re pretty psyched.
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