Building a More Social Mobile Platform
by Yariv Sadan - November 3, 2010 at 11:00am

Today marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Facebook for mobile. We now reach 200 million monthly active users, making Facebook one of the most popular mobile applications in the world. So today, we are excited to announce powerful, new capabilities for Facebook Platform that will solve critical challenges that mobile developers face -- login and location.

Easier Login with Single Sign-On
One of the challenges mobile developers wrestle with is login. After a user logs in, you can deliver a beautiful, personalized experience. However, a large number of consumers never bother logging in due to the hassle of typing in a user name and password, or worse, dealing with forgotten passwords. All of these challenges are exponentially worse on a mobile phone.

Single sign-on provides a simple solution to these problems. Now users logged into the Facebook app can use the “Login with Facebook” button and in one click through a simplified permissions dialog, log into your app. The best part is that this only takes a few lines of code to implement.

Creating a simpler login makes it easier for people to bring their friends with them on their phone, and allows you, the developer, to create more innovative, deeply social experiences. Single sign-on is available for Android today and soon will be available for iOS devices.

Location in the Graph API
Mobile is all about being untethered and on the go, so mobile and location go hand-in-hand. In August, when we launched our Places product, we kicked off the first phase of our location platform with a few initial partners.

Today, we’re making Places check-in and search functionality available to all Facebook Platform developers as part of the Graph API. Now you can access our database of Places and let users check in on Facebook from within your application. With access to information about millions of locations, any developer can bootstrap the development of a location-based app without having to worry about licensing location data or seeding friend activity for new users. You can also reach new users through distribution in News Feed, the “Friends Nearby” view in the Facebook app and other third-party apps that present friend check-ins.

These new location features only surface check-ins based on a person's privacy settings. It’s easy to use our permissions dialog to request to access and publish check-ins and get started.

We believe that single sign-on and open access to location information are two of the most fundamental components of extending Facebook Platform to become a social platform for mobile. There is clearly much more work to be done, so stay tuned for more exciting developments!

Yariv, an engineer on the Platmobile team, hopes to never mash his password on a touchscreen keyboard again.