Facebook Goes to Bat for Mobile Developers
Facebook's Chief Technology Officer, Bret Taylor, today announced a proactive initiative at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona to help facilitate application development for the mobile web.
Taylor's announcement was summarized in a post by Jeff Purdy on Facebook's Official Blog.
"We see more people accessing Facebook on the mobile web than from our top native apps combined, so we know the mobile web is important for reach," Purdy wrote.
Still, Purdy says developers are hesitant to build apps for the mobile web because of deficiencies in app discovery and mobile payments, as well as fragmentation in browser technology.
Facebook hopes that the Facebook platform itself will address the app discovery issue by connecting the developer's apps to Open Graph. In turn all 425 million people who use Facebook's mobile apps will be able to discover your app.
"We've been helping people discover iOS and mobile web apps since October, and as announced today in Mobile World Congress, we'll soon extend this to native Android apps," Purdy wrote in his blog post.
Mobile browser fragmentation and payments, on the other hand, are industry-wide problems that no individual company can fix by themselves. Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we are excited to announce a couple of industry-wide initiatives to address these issues.
To solve the browser fragmentation issue, Facebook has joined a consortium, the W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group, of "over 30 device manufacturers, carriers, and developers" in an industry-wide effort to help accelerate the improvement and standardization of mobile browsers.
To that end, Facebook announced that it is making Ringmark, a new mobile browser test suite, available today to developers. The company is donating Ringmark to the Community Group to build upon. The test suite, developed together with Bocoup, helps developers understand which mobile browsers support the functionality their app needs.
On top of easing browser fragmentation and helping developers with app discovery, Facebook also hopes to streamline the flow of mobile payment.
"We're working with operators around the world to minimize the number of steps needed to complete a transaction in mobile web apps," Purdy wrote, "which will make it easier for hundreds of millions of people worldwide to purchase apps on their device via operator billing. This will be automatically enabled where carriers support it when you integrate the Pay Dialog into your app."
Facebook says it is working on mobile payments with AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp, among others.
"Our hope is that these initiatives - the Open Graph, the Core Mobile Web Platform Community Group at the W3C, and our partnerships with carriers to improve mobile payments - will enable developers all over the world to build mobile experiences that improve the lives of billions of people," Purdy wrote.
Participants in the W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group include: Samsung, HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, TCL Communication, AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Orange, Telefónica, KDDI, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp., Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc., NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson, Intel Corporation, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, Adobe, Netflix, VEVO, Zynga, @WalmartLabs, Electronic Arts, Sencha and Bocoup.