'Facebook should have been a mobile app'
BRET Taylor, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer, has said that if Mark Zuckerberg were designing the site today, it would have been for phones not computers.
Speaking after a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Mr Taylor said that “Facebook would have been a mobile application if the technology had been available when Mark Zuckerberg was building it in his dorm room”.
He claimed that phones offered a more natural experience of the social network, because they allowed more rapid sharing of pictures and material due to their permanent connectivity. Mr Taylor also highlighted the way that phones instantly alert users if they are tagged or mentioned on the site. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has previously said that he regards his company also as "mobile first".
Facebook is pushing a bid to make mobile web standards more uniform, and has begun to offer a system dubbed 'Ringmark' to grade phones in the same way as computers; the aim is to encourage manufacturers to adopt stndards that mean websites look the same on all devices. That could allow web software developers to make programmes for a wider range of devices, using HTML5, without having to test them on each one individually.
Facebook, whose mobile website is its most popular interface on mobile, rather than the native apps it builds for iOS and Android, is also working on a common platform for mobile payments across countries. The site has not yet announced how it would share revenues with developers, but has signed deals to work with networks including T-Mobile, Orange and Vodafone.
Facebook is known to be keen to avoid the current necessity to give Apple a 30 per cent cut of transactions made via its iOS app. Deals with mobile networks could allow it to implement billing directly via mobile phone bill, and would make the open web the platform, rather than anything influenced by Apple or Google.
Mr Taylor said he thought mobile would continue to be the main way Facebook was accessed, and that its importance would grow: “These devices are the best devices for Facebook,” he said. “Now all the things that were already popular are much easier, from photosharing to posting a status update. Over time it’s pretty reasonable to expect that there will be a lot of things that are possible that just aren’t possible on laptops.”
He said in Nigeria and South Africa, 90pc of use was on a mobile, and that in India 30pc of Facebook users had signed up on a mobile.