Why Facebook's Future Is Mobile

57 thoughts on “Why Facebook's Future Is Mobile”

  1. I’m with you, Om. I prefer to use my iPhone for Facebook as well- partially, I think, because it just feels more natural to interact with the service using gestures and swipes than with a keyboard and a mouse.

  2. I never really used Facebook all that much until I tried out the BlackBerry client. What an epiphany! All of a sudden the whole thing came alive and became very useful. In particular the ability to share the moment instantly with a geo-tagged photo upload is killer. The ability of a mobile client to make a service relevant is even more true of Twitter. After all, unless you’re tweeting on-the-go, the Twitter question should really be “What WERE you doing?”

  3. I actually sometimes prefer the mobile version of Facebook (the WAP version at m.facebook.com, making me archaic), which has done some clever things that have gone under the radar. For example, among the direct links is a link to your phonebook, cataloging the battery of cell numbers your friends have uploaded. (I caught a screen shot of this and wrote about it last month here: http://www.mostlikelytodiealone.com/2009/01/on-utility-facebook-style.html)

    I liked that you brought up the “real-world relationships” point, but I think it’s less about sticking to Facebook to get those Sunday evening plans done. I think making the utility to get directly in touch with friends from your phone, though, correlates better to making the social connection Facebook desires.

  4. Om is this an age thing?

    I have two teenage daughters who are facebook and mobile users, however as they are on Pay As You Go plans they do not use the mobile web. Too expensive for them to do so.

    With over 90% of the worlds 4 Billion users of mobile on similar Pay As You Go plans the influence of mobile internet is at present limited.

    When it comes to social networking on mobile my daughters do so via bluetooth and SMS which limits the options for Facebook that they use to organise things. This is still true when you look at the actions of youngsters in Japan or Europe who arrange things more in the manner of a FlashMob because the user group is more easy to control than on Facebook.

    I have worked in Mobile in Europe since 1985 as an Economist and watch trends for me the interesting thing is that more and more users are duel SIM and more are downscaling to a low cost handset than up to a smartphone. This fact means that development of a mobile web strategy needs to be undertaken carefully. Llook at the plans for mobile banking in the US; and you see that Wells Fargo have some 28 different products dependent on the customers needs and device.

  5. Ian wrote: “With over 90% of the worlds 4 Billion users of mobile on similar Pay As You Go plans the influence of mobile internet is at present limited.”

    I would expect the price of All You Can Eat to drop fast as more users start using the FB and other mobile social media apps.

    Wish there was a mobile client for the old Palm Treo. Probably have to migrate to iPhone at some point, but I do love my Palm. The Pre looks great, but it’s a Verizon exclusive and my plan’s ATT.

    –Ax

  6. I completely agree with your views on this one, Om. Even on a Blackberry Curve, the Facebook app is more convenient, less intrusive and less of a time-suck than it is on a desktop. I will often respond to facebook inquiries/check status, etc. while sitting at my desk in front of my computer.

    I expect FB will continue down this path. 4 million is a lot of eyeballs/early adopters…

  7. What I really like about this story is that it gives another example of how Apple (and all the 3rd party iPhone app developers) delivered on the promise of the Mobile Web: ENHANCING the web experience while on the go. They delivered very well with Facebook but also MySpace and other apps like Pandora. These examples show you that when you are good, you can take a very interactive experience originally designed for PCs and still adapt them beautifully to the 3rd screen. And this is just the beginning folks, as I am sure bringing LBS and voice command will make these babies even more addictive. Now if only the network could follow, right Om? 😉

  8. You are right, Mobile is what makes sense for Facebook. But the missing link is this: There needs to be one single Facebook application that will work on every cell phone. Facebook for mobile only realizes it’s full power when I know that all my Facebook friends are mobile too (and not just my Facebook friends who have smart phones.) This will, in fact, be possible before the first day of spring.

  9. @ Michael Martin
    Until devices like the iPhone support apps in the background, I don’t see how these location-based services are going to take off. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Loopt only works when the people you are looking for are also using Loopt at the exact same time? Well what good is that? What are the chances the one of my friends is going to happen to be in the app at the exact same time that I am? More likely, we’d have to have coordinated it. And if we had to coordinate it, why didn’t we just call or text each other to begin with? When I can be in another app, or when my iPhone is in standby and it beeps and/or vibrates to let me know that a friend is nearby, then this will be useful. Until then, it’ll just be another “oh, cool” feature.

  10. If only the Facebook iphone app were better, though! I constantly have to remind myself to check the full version on my computer for events, groups, sending a message along with a friend request, and some other stuff that it just doesn’t make sense isn’t done better in the iPhone app.

    Also, why doesn’t Facebook have a (better-working) version of the FriendSync app, so I can easily call my friends if I have them friended in FB. I see their fear in moving anything out of their proprietary system but the enhanced utility is still meaningful.

  11. I never really used Facebook all that much until I tried out the BlackBerry client. What an epiphany! All of a sudden the whole thing came alive and became very useful. In particular the ability to share the moment instantly with a geo-tagged photo upload is killer. The ability of a mobile client to make a service relevant is even more true of Twitter. After all, unless you’re tweeting on-the-go, the Twitter question should really be “What WERE you doing?

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