At 10:30 PST today, Facebook held its “mobile event” for over 7,000 viewers. In his opening remarks, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Our goal is to make it so that no matter what platform you are building, your apps can be social…And that over the next few years, entire industries will be rethought as social applications.” He also mentioned that 200 million people now use Facebook via mobile devices.
Facebook for iPhone updated
The app update, announced at Facebook’s event this afternoon, brings a new Facebook Groups interface, deals, improved check-ins and a flurry of bug fixes for the iPhone.
Facebook Places Comes to Android
See our post on Facebook’s announcement that it is now bringing Places and Groups to its latest build of the Android app, unlocking the services to millions of users.
No one enjoys logging in, so Facebook has announced its “Single Sign-On,” essentially, one button to rule them all. If you have the Facebook app and you’re logged in, you will be automatically logged into every other social app which requires a Facebook log-in. The same goes for the Facebook mobile site and other 3rd party mobile sites that use the Facebook log-in. Simply put, the Single Sign-On feature makes it less of a hassle to use any other social app on your phone.
“Now you don’t have to enter a password, how big of an innovation is that?” asked Zuckerberg. According to Zuckerberg, this reduces friction in the same way YouTube affected video, compressing it down to an easy to upload flash file.
The Single Sign-On encourages developers to build richer experiences on phones to create a better overall user experience. Single Sign-On partners include Groupon, Zygna (which will be debuting on Android next week), SCVNGR, Yelp, Loopt, Flixster and Booyah. Partners will benefit from a user increase with an easier sign-on process.
Facebook Places API Update
Facebook’s Read, Write and Search API are now open. This is competitive with the Google Places API. They also announced an update to their Android SDK with an update to the iPhone SDK coming next week.
Facebook is building a platform for local stores and places to offer deals to nearby Facebook users. What does this mean? You will be able to read where your friends are, write and publish check-ins back into the graph and search for relevant places.
Watch their video demonstration here:
According to Facebook, the thing that has been missing with check-ins is that those local businesses can’t communicate with customers. Facebook hopes their platform will enable merchants to push deals out to their existing customers and will attract new customers. The Deals concept turns store’s online visitors and eyeballs into real people, dollars and experiences.
Here’s how Facebook Places and Deals will look on the iPhone:
Types of Deals
- Individual deals: Merchants set up loyalty deals available to users through their mobile devices.
- Friend deals: An obvious move for Facebook, merchants will offer special deals to users who bring their friends such as free appetizers at restaurants.
- Charity deals: businesses will let users check-in and donate money to a charity of their choice.
Facebook’s Announced Deals
- 24 Hour Fitness: Donating $1 to Kaboom to support children’s health for everyone who checks in to its fitness clubs.
- Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Hosting a free screening for whichever of their movie theaters gets the most check-ins, as well as giving free souvenir Facebook Places pint glasses just for showing that you’ve claimed the deal.
- American Eagle Outfitters: Offering 20 percent off.
- Chipotle: Giving its Facebook guests two entrees for the price of one.
- Gap: Giving blue jeans to the first 10,000 customers to claim their deal.
- Golden State Warriors: Inviting those who check in to an exclusive event with a basketball player on the NBA team from Oakland, Calif.
- Harrah’s: Offering a complimentary nightclub admission, buffet or other gift to people who stop by any of its 10 Las Vegas resorts.
- H&M: Offering 20 percent off.
- JCPenney: Giving $10 off any $50 purchase.
- Lululemon: Sharing the gift of yoga by giving guests a pass to a local yoga studio.
- Macy’s: Offering 20 percent off select merchandise.
- McDonald’s: Giving $1 per customer to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
- North Face: Donating $1 to the National Park Foundation for every person who checks in at a North Face store or National Park.
- The Palms: Upgrading your room or extending your weekend at the hotel another night–on the house.
- REI: Donating $1 to a local conservation non-profit when you visit its stores.
- San Francisco 49ers: Giving to the first 200 fans who check in the opportunity to buy tickets to a subsequent football game for just (you guessed it) $49.
- Starbucks: Donating $1 per guest to Conservation International.
- TAO and LAVO: Adding you and a friend to an upcoming guest list at one of the nightclubs for checking in.
- Texas Tech: Giving away 100 pairs of tickets.
- University of California at Berkeley: Letting football fans who check in form the human tunnel through which the players run.
- University of Nebraska: Inviting attendees to a meet-and-greet with a Husker living legend.
All in all, 20,000 small to medium sized business are expected to sign up with Facebook deals through their easy self-service platform. The velocity of this has not been lost on Zuckerberg who added that they only launched Places two months ago.