App stores will be more social, says Facebook mobile chief

Jul 13, 2010
Tech

As the app universe evolves from the hundreds of thousands available today to several million in the very near future, consumers will demand a smarter and more social way to discover apps, predicts Erick Tseng, Head of Mobile Products for Facebook. “It’s inevitable that these mobile app markets will become more social,” said Tseng, during […]

As the app universe evolves from the hundreds of thousands available today to several million in the very near future, consumers will demand a smarter and more social way to discover apps, predicts Erick Tseng, Head of Mobile Products for Facebook.

“It’s inevitable that these mobile app markets will become more social,” said Tseng, during a July 13 on-stage interview at MobileBeat 2010 in San Francisco. “As we get more apps, which is great, normal users will not want to go through hundreds of apps on their thumbs. They will need to have relevant content filtered to the top.”

Facebook, which has more than 150 million mobile users (and more than a half billion users overall), is aggressively emerging as a mobile platform with leading browser and application-based assets across the entire mobile web.

Tseng discussed the company’s efforts to create a universal experience across a plethora of devices, operating systems, and app stores.

“More platforms are adopting the same standards, and that is really good news for all of us building across a diverse landscape,” he said, adding that there are still “advantages to leveraging specific platforms and devices.”

The location-based leader?

Predictably, Tseng argued that Facebook will be the mobile platform that will encourage consumers, in a meaningful way,to  tap into location-based experiences offered by retailers in their proximity.

He believes getting notifications for things like walking by a Starbucks “feels like spam.”. However, with social applications provided by a trusted brand like Facebook, consumers will feel more comfortable and inclined to take advantage of those opportunities.

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Friending carriers worldwide

While Facebook has no near-term plans to include advertising within its mobile offerings, Tseng said the company is aggressively courting international members through portable device-based experiences. By partnering with carriers in India and Russia, Facebook is developing a mobile-specific audience base that it will eventually monetize within its universal service.

A program called zero.facebook.com is attracting users in 66 markets worldwide by wiping out data charges associated with accessing Facebook on mobile devices. Further, Facebook is developing relationships with carriers – currently internationally with plans for the biggest domestic players – that could bring new offerings to the service and its users in the months and years ahead.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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