Facebook plans for a geolocation future

It seems the Facebook app for mobile devices is so popular the company envisions a future where mobile social networking reigns.

It seems the Facebook app for mobile devices is so popular the company envisions a future where mobile social networking reigns.

At a media event I attended Wednesday, the company announced a trio of offerings targeted at the mobile app market using its platform.

They include a single sign-on feature into third-party mobile apps through its platform, updates to its location-based app Facebook Places for the iPhone and Android, and Deals, a program for businesses to offer deals to users who “check-in” at retail locations using Places.

Two-hundred million people are using the Facebook app for mobile devices; a number that has tripled year-over-year said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Without talking numbers, Zuckerberg also said last month at a press conference at its Palo Alto headquarters the geolocation app Facebook Places it launched in August is already the most used service of its kind.

A sobering thought for other geolocation app startups like Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR and Loopt indeed. But Facebook also announced Places API, which essentially means other geolocation startups can tap into Facebook's vast social graph, and when users check-in at a place with their preferred geolocation app they are automatically checked-in at Facebook Places.

Among the brands that have partnered with Facebook to try out Deals is Gap. At an undisclosed date the brand will give away a pair of jeans to the first 10,000 people who check-in at a retail location using Facebook Places.

So why no Facebook Places app for the iPad, one reporter asked? “The iPad is not mobile,” Zuckerberg said. Later saying “I didn't mean to be rude to Apple in any way.” 

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