As 200 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook from a phone, Facebook today introduced updates to both our Android and iPhone applications and also created an avenue for retailers to offer deals to nearby customers.
Starting today, local businesses will be able to offer you deals when you check in to their place on Facebook. Deals will be rolling out over the next few days and will only be available in the United States at this time, Facebook said.
Facebook has already launched Places to let you share where you are with your friends and see who's nearby. Now with Deals, you also can see what offers are nearby and share those deals with your friends.
Finding deals near you is easy. On touch.facebook.com or the latest version of Facebook for iPhone, touch "Places" and then touch "Check In." Nearby Places with deals have a yellow icon. When you touch the Place, you can view the deal and check in to claim it. Then, just show your phone to the cashier to get your gift or discount.
These deals come from merchants, not Facebooks. You'll see a few different types of Deals: individual deals for a discount, free merchandise or other reward; friend deals where you and your friends claim an offer together; loyalty deals for being a frequent visitor to a place; and charity deals where businesses pledge to donate to a cause when you check in.
Mobile Apps updated
Facebook also updated both Android and iPhone applications, and launched a single sign on--a hassle-free way to log in to mobile applications.
The new Android 1.4 update includes the launch of Places and Groups. With the launch of Places, you and your friends can now check in to your favorite restaurant, museum, business or any other location from your Android phone.
Following on the heels of the launch of Groups on Facebook.com less than a month ago, you can now access those same groups from your Android phone. Create a group for your poker buddies, and organize an impromptu game this weekend just by messaging the group from your phone.
Android 1.4 also includes a refresh to the notifications application. Clicking on a notification now won't send you off to the browser. Instead, as long as that notification has an appropriate destination within the application itself, you will be taken there.
Now with the updated iPhone 3.3 application, you can find nearby deals from your favorite businesses--from restaurants down the block to major retailers. Deals are only available from Places in the U.S, for now, and we'll be expanding them to more merchants over time.
In addition, Places has been updated to include a starred friends list, making it even faster to tag friends with whom you frequently check-in--no more searching and scrolling.
iPhone 3.3 also includes the launch of Groups, as well as a new composer to make checking in and posting photos faster and more clear.
Single Sign On
Now when you're logged into Facebook, it's easier for you to log in into other applications on your mobile phone with single sign on.
Starting today, you can try this new experience yourself with any of these Android apps: Flixster, Groupon, Loopt, SCVNGR, Yelp and Zynga Poker. iPhone apps will soon be available with single sign on. Going forward, expect even more apps to launch with this functionality.