Facebook F8 highlights – Anonymous Login, App Links, Offline Games

Two years ago, Facebook was big on mobile in terms of users, but they were not making any money from mobile. Fast forward two years later, and today 60% of their revenue comes from mobile. In Q1 2014, the company’s revenue was $2.27 billion, mobile contributing a chunk of it. Facebook now wants to help other developers get more out of mobile. This year, its F8 announcement emphasis was on how  Facebook is focused on building a stable and reliable mobile platform.

f8 Build Grow Monetize YourStory

New Social Graph login & Anonymous login

Facebook’s login is used by 80% of top iOS and Android apps. The company announced two new Facebook Logins: First updated version of existing login to give you more control and let you select what information to share with what apps. The other is Anonymous Login: A way for you to log in to an app without sharing your real identity. As a test partner, TripAdvisor saw 27% higher engagement using the new Facebook Login. This helps increase your conversions by helping people get started with your app quickly. They won’t have to create a password or share their personal information.

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Improved stability and consistency 

Faceboook announced a two-year API stability guarantee for Facebook’s core developer products. The company is committed to keeping the core API unchanged. Core APIs like login, sharing and sending will be stable for two years. Facebook’s CEO has announced API versioning. Every change will have a version number.  Now as a developer, you get to decide which version you want to develop for, and it works across the platforms. The cherry on the top of all the promises is that the company has committed to fix every major bug within 48 hours. Facebook acquisition, Parse platform, has dropped its pricing to make building apps less expensive, and introduced tools for developers to build apps with Parse that workoffline. This is good news for developers to know their apps will function even in the limited/absence of internet connection.

Facebook AppLinks f8 2014 YourStory
App Links are Facebook’s attempt to make it easy for developers to link to other applications from their own apps.

 AppLinks – Free open source service to unite all apps

Linking on mobile device is complicated than it is on the web. Facebook’s new initiative App Links is making linking between apps easier. It’s an open, cross-platform solution for app-to-app linking that gives you the tools you need to expose deep links in your app or to link out to others. Now It’s not hard to find out when—and how—to send people out of your app and directly into another app. Testing partners supporting App Links technology include Tumblr, Mailbox, Pinterest, Goodreads, DailyMotion, Flickr, Vimeo, Quip, Spotify and Vevo. The coolest thing about AppLinks is it makes it easy to switch between apps that are running in the background.

Increasing the ‘viral’ effect  

The button we all click every day across the web has finally arrived on mobile.  The new Like button lets you like pages or content of individual apps through a native mobile ‘Like’ button on iOS devices. The Android version is coming soon. To amplify the ‘viral’ effect, Facebook has also launched Send To Mobile feature. This is an easy way for you to send an app to your phone after visiting a website on desktop/laptop while logged on Facebook. This provides a convenient way for other people to access your mobile app and convert your desktop traffic to mobile. The other new feature that was introduced is Message Dialog, which lets you share content from apps with your friends through Facebook Messenger which has been unbundled from the main site facebook.com

 Facebook Monetization

Helping developers monetize

Facebook start for entrepreneurs.  They have two tracks: Bootstrap Track is for those who are just starting. If your app is thriving and it’s time to tackle scaling, Facebook will give you what you need to turn your app into a successful business via Acclerator Track. It’s a new program to help mobile startups grow through a package of resources and tools provided by industry leaders. Facebook will give app developers $30,000-worth of free services and support to anyone in the world who wants to build an app.

Developers have now a new way to effectively monetize mobile apps on Facebook platform; the company has launched Audience Network. Audience Network offers developers rich audience targeting and ad formats that have proven to work on mobile. Audience Network lets you push Facebook ads off the social network and into Facebook partner apps. Advertisers have a choice of running banner, interstitial, or native ads off Facebook to encourage app installs and other activities, and they can take advantage of Facebook’s usual targeting and measurement tools that includes promotional Facebook ad credit for new spenders.

Final thoughts

Facebook seems on its way to dominate the mobile app world just like Google did to the web world. App discovery is broken at its current state. Apps are being discovered on directory UI like early days of Web+Yahoo directory. Now Facebook is trying to unite all the apps that reside in walled garden of iOS, Androids and Windows, if they manage to succeed in putting their snippet of code in every app. That means mining lots of data about app usage, just like Google learned about the websites through Google Analytics.

Will Facebook be the glue that connects the app world the way Google did with the web?

The lingering question remains; How can Facebook give two years guarantee on their API while they are dependent on smartphone OS maker’s SDK? The next version of iOS & Android could affect that severely. Or do they have some kind of MOU? Only time will tell.

Or maybe you can in your comments below.



About the author

Everything startups, tech, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of India & Africa. You can reach him via emmanuel[at]yourstory.com

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