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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

No Facebook Phone, Just Facebook App Upgrades

Jacob Chung |
November 4, 2010 | 9:48 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Creative Commons image of Facebook app on an iPhone.
Creative Commons image of Facebook app on an iPhone.
Mark Zuckerberg was clear at Wednesday’s Facebook event held at Palo Alto that the company was not announcing a new phone but instead a new way to interact with Facebook on mobile devices. 

Both the Android and iPhone Facebook applications will see the upgrades, which will include new features like single sign-in and deals using Facebook places. The new features will roll out to Android phone immediately while iPhones users will have to wait a week or so. 

The single sign-on feature will allow users to log in to Facebook and use those credentials to automatically log in to other application connected to Facebook. Applications like zynga, Groupon, yelp, and others will take advantage of this new feature with the upgrade. 

Also of note, Facebook users will be able to check in to businesses nearby to receive deals and discounts. Gap, 24 Hour Fitness, and McDonalds will be among the first of few limited partners to hop onboard with the new places program. The first 10,000 users to check in to Gap will receive free jeans. Other prizes include a vacation, pint glasses, and movie tickets. Facebook hopes to include other partners as the program progresses.  

Why the new features you ask? 

“What we're trying to do is make all apps social,” said Zuckerberg. “What we know is that the more apps people use, the more they like Facebook. It will help spread social applications.”

When asked about the possible security concerns with the new single sign-on and places features, Zuckerberg stated that the same security policies used today would continue to be enforced via Facebook’s application programming interface (API).

“Nothing has changed from our existing privacy controls. If you want to access a person’s location information, you have to ask for that, and the read API would let that happen.” 

What this means for users is a new and improved way to use Facebook and it’s connected partners on mobile devices. And, if you don’t mind sharing where you are and entrusting your password with Facebook—and why would you since you already trust them with so much more—you’ll be able to reap new rewards!

Reach reporter Jacob Chung here.



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