Facebook is trying to to keep the world's biggest social-networking service at the center of the mobile-application universe by introducing improved tools and a more streamlined experience for logins, including the option to sign in anonymously.
"By giving people more power and control, they’re going to trust all the apps that we build more, and use them more, and that’s positive for everyone," Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said today at Facebook’s F8 conference for software developers in San Francisco.
Facebook announced Anonymous Login, new way to log into apps without sharing any personal information from Facebook, along with a new version of Facebook Login with even better privacy controls.
Anonymous Login lets people log in to apps so they don’t have to remember usernames and passwords, but it doesn’t share personal information from Facebook. The feature is currently tested with developers, andwill be opened up in the coming months.
With the new Facebook Login, people can select the data an app gets by unchecking categories of information, one by one. For example, if someone wants to share their email address with an app, but not their birthday, they can make that choice with a couple taps. Facebook says the new Login would be rolling out over the next few months.
Facebook also announced a redesigned dashboard where people can see a list of apps they use, manage specific permissions, or remove apps entirely.
In addition, Facebook announced FbStart, a program that provides developers with free tools and services worth up to $30,000 from Facebook and 11 other companies to help startups take off. App developers can apply to participate in FbStart, and if selected, will receive credits for Facebook advertising and Parse, plus free services from companies that deliver product testing, recruiting, customer care, video conferencing and document management. Participating companies include Adobe, Appurify, Asana, BlueJeans, Desk.com, MailChimp, Proto.io, Quip, SurveyMonkey, UserTesting, and Workable.
There are two tracks in FbStart: the Bootstrap track for companies just getting started, and the Accelerate track for apps that demonstrated initial traction and are trying to grow. Any developer around the world with a public iOS or Android app is eligible to apply. Facebook will open the program to all developers in the coming weeks.
The company also rolled out a new service designed to distribute ads across a network of mobile applications.
Audience Network allows mobile-app developers to insert various types of ads within their software.
Facebook will face tough competition in the mobile ad network market from Google's AdMob service, which already allows advertisers to distribute ads to mobile apps. Twitter also said on Tuesday its MoPub ad network can reach 1 billion mobile users.
Other announcements made by Zuckerberg today at F8 include:
- Improved stability: A two-year stability guarantee for Facebook core developer products
- App Links: Making linking between apps easier - an open-source, cross-platform solution for mobile deep linking. Over 20 top mobile apps have partnered with us to make all kinds of content available for linking.
- Parse updates: Facebook updated Parse pricing to make building apps less expensive, simpler, and more predictable, and introduced tools for developers to build apps with Parse that work offline.
- Message Dialog: Letting people share content from apps with friends through Facebook Messenger
- Mobile Like Button: Like the Pages or content of individual apps through a native, mobile Like button
- Send To Mobile: An easy way for people to send an app to their phone after visiting a web site and logging in with Facebook. When people visit your website and log in with Facebook, they can get a notification sent to their phone to download your mobile app.
Facebook also announced four new public content APIs to help media companies tell richer stories with Facebook content and data. Internet.org announced today that developers can now submit applications to participate in the Internet.org Innovation Lab at Facebook. To learn more and apply, go here: internet.org/innovationlab.
Facebook is pitching its mobile tools to developers with the goal of creating more ways to bring in advertising revenue. Mobile now accounts for more than half of Facebook’s advertising revenue.