Facebook aims to create platform for mobile app development

Speaking at an industry conference on Tuesday, Erick Tseng, Facebook’s head of mobile products, said the company is moving away from a “one-off app strategy.” Instead, the company wants to make it easier for independent developers to build mobile services that integrate with Facebook’s social networking features.

Kim-Mai Cutler reports that Tseng and Facebook are looking to create a mobile platform for app development similar to what the company did on the desktop Web. Cutler indicates that platform is now supported by “550,000 applications and 1 million developers.”

Tseng told the conference that 150 million users globally now access Facebook on mobile devices and that tying location closer to social networking would help accelerate that growth:

“If you can actually layer on top of [location] some kind of social intelligence — not just the fact that I’m near Starbucks, but the fact that 30 of my friends really like this frappuccino over the last couple months — I’ve got an interesting use case,” he said.

With 500 million users worldwide, Facebook is positioned similarly to AOL in the mid-1990s: to many of its users it is the Internet. While a relatively small population uses “check-in” services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, a location-based service popularized within a Facebook mobile platform could tip the market and gain mass acceptance.

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