Facebook Chief Technical Officer Bret Taylor says that mobile is the company’s top priority in 2011.
Speaking at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, Taylor said that mobile usage is the fastest growing part of the Facebook experience, with more than 200 million people accessing the site from mobile phones. Those users are also more than twice as active as users who only log on via the desktop Web site.
Facebook also believes mobile phones are a natural fit for social networking. Phones are single-user devices and not shared among lots of people, were originally designed for communication (remember phone calls?), and have built-in access to your location and contacts.
Specific priorities in mobile include:
- Making Facebook Connect more accessible for mobile apps. An example of progress here was Facebook’s introduction of single sign-on, so when users sign into Facebook from within one app, they don’t have to sign in again. When Flixster took advantage of single sign-on, it saw a 300% increase in sign-ups.
- Reducing the burden of developing for different platforms. Every time Facebook implements a new feature, it has to test it on the regular Facebook Web site, the mobile Web site for feature phones, a different mobile Web site for touch-based smartphones, and specialised Facebook apps for the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. In 2011, Facebook will begin moving toward using HTML5, which works similarly across many different platforms.
- Location. Facebook will keep rolling out Places to all users and promote the Places API to mobile developers, in hopes of spurring new location-based apps that use Facebook.