Facebook announced more details of its mobile apps strategy, although it stopped short of billing this as a wholesale HTML5-based push into the market – as had previously been suggested.
It described its work as "the beginning of bringing Facebook Platform apps to mobile."
The company is working on the integration of Facebook’s social features with native iOS devices and HTML5 apps, stating that it will extend its native support to “platforms such as Android in the near future.”
The company will now enable developers to access social channels including bookmarks, requests and newsfeeds, to “drive the discovery and distribution of apps using Facebook Platform.”
It also said that the features launched this week are “still under development.”
As part of its mobile strategy, Facebook Credits has also been extended to support mobile web apps. The company said the same policies for use of the micropayment system apply as for the traditional Facebook version, including the requirement that Facebook Credits is the exclusive payment mechanism. Facebook Credits are also not allowed in iOS apps or mobile web apps running within a Facebook iOS – presumably in order to comply with Apple’s requirements for in-app purchases.
In a blog post, Luke Shepard, software development engineer at the company, described bookmarks as “one of the key re-engagement channels for apps on Facebook.” When a user engages with an app, a link is added to the user’s main navigation pane, making it easier for them to launch from Facebook in the future.
The “requests” dialogue will enable users to invite friends to the app, and requests can be received wherever an app is supported – for example, a request sent from an HTML5 app can be received in the iOS app.
Another new feature is authenticated referrals, which ensures that all referral traffic from Facebook is of users signed-in to the service. This is said to give developers the chance to “build a deeply personalised experience as soon as users arrive at your app.”
The company said that integration of the new features for native developers is “as easy as implementing single sign-on using our iOS SDK.”
iPad app launched
Facebook also finally launched the long-anticipated version of its app for Apple’s iPad (pictured). The app is said to offer “the full Facebook experience,” including new features such as chat support, full-screen games and apps, inline high-res videos, HD video recording, and streaming to Airplay devices.