Facebook Rolls Out Mobile Initiative, Updates iPhone App With Groups and Places, Says iPad Isn't 'Mobile'
At a media event held today, Facebook announced a new push into mobile, bringing updates to the company's Android and iOS applications and rolling out a new single sign on service that will allow users logged into the company's applications to also access other applications such as Flixster, Groupon, and Loopt. Single sign on is currently available on a handful of Android applications, with support for iPhone apps coming soon.
On the iOS front, Facebook announced an update to its application for the iPhone and iPod touch, bringing support for the enhanced "Groups" functionality rolled out recently and new features for the "Places" functionality, including the ability to find deals and a new option to "star" friends in the Places list to make it easier to check in with them.
Using Places on the iPhone already lets you share where you are and find nearby friends. Now with the iPhone 3.3 application, you can also find nearby deals from your favorite businesses--from restaurants down the block to major retailers. Deals are only available from Places in the U.S, for now, and we'll be expanding them to more merchants over time.
The updated Facebook application should be available in the App Store later today, although the the application currently appears to be entirely unavailable.
When asked about Facebook's plans for an iPad application, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company does not consider the iPad to be a mobile device. When pressed on the issue, Facebook executives noted that they are still trying to understand the best approach to take for tablet devices like the iPad.
The real hint to Facebook's iPad plans, though, is that Tseng focused on the form factor and not iOS. This could mean that Facebook's looking to build an HTML5 version of its website optimized for tablets. At the very least, Facebook seems intent on keeping a consistent experience across all tablet devices.
In the meantime though, Tseng points out that Facebook is accessible via the iPad through the official website (which is pretty darn functional) and through touch.facebook.com.
Zuckerberg then clarified that Facebook was attempting to keep the focus of the event on mobile, and the company simply doesn't see the iPad as being in the same class as "mobile" devices like the iPhone and Android.
Update: The new version of Facebook has now gone live [App Store] as Version 3.3.1.