Facebook sticks to software with new mobile features

Facebook has denied it is working on a mobile phone, instead focusing on helping companies make money using its Places system.

Facebook sticks to software with new mobile features

The new Deals feature builds on three-month old “Places” – which lets users broadcast their location, among other things – and lets merchants shoot special offers to Facebook mobile users who “check in” from the vicinity of their stores.

The company is stepping up efforts to make its 500-million-member social networking service available to people when they are away from their computers.

By offering deals, Facebook could entice more people to use its location-based check-in service while opening up new revenue opportunities for Facebook.

There are things that you can do on mobile phones that you can’t do on the normal web

Facebook executives said the company had no concrete plans for now to make money off of this new feature, but acknowledged that there could be interesting ways to generate revenue from the deals program down the road.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the social network has tripled its number of mobile users to about 200 million now, from 65 million at the same time last year.

“There are things that you can do on mobile phones that you can’t do on the normal web,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a interview with reporters following the briefing at the company’s headquarters.

“People have their phones with them all the time, so a lot more usage is happening on phones,” said Zuckerberg. He added that most of the specialised applications for mobile devices today don’t adequately integrate social networking features.

Facebook announced a couple of new features to weave its service into other companies’ mobile apps, including technology that automatically uses a Facebook member’s user name and password to log into another company’s mobile app.

Facebook also said that it would allow other companies to tap into its database of location information, including the friends and businesses that are near a Facebook user, as a way to spur development of a new generation of mobile apps.

No phone

Zuckerberg shot down rumours that Facebook was working on its own phone.

“Our goal is not to sell anything physical. Our goal is to make it so that everything can be social,” said Zuckerberg.

“It would be pretty silly for us to go after a strategy that focused on selling small number of phones … and risk alienating all the partners that we need to work with in order to make all these places more social,” he said.

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