Facebook Claims 65 Million Mobile Users
Facebook said more than 65 million people are actively using the social network on their mobile devices.The social network said it had just 20 million active mobile users at the beginning of the year. The site has seen explosive growth in the mobile department thanks to Facebook placing a stronger emphasis on applications, and expanding its Facebook Connect feature to the mobile Web.
The Facebook app is routinely among the most-downloaded programs from over-the-air content stores like Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, andResearch In Motion (NSDQ: RIMM)’s App World for its BlackBerry smartphones. The social network also updates these programs often to ensure it is optimized for each individual mobile platform.The social network has also struck deals to get its app preloaded on multiple handsets such as INQ Mobile’s phones. It recently collaborated withNokia (NYSE: NOK) to provide a “lifecasting” app for the N97 mini. This program enables users to include their location with their status updates.
The company has also been pushing its Facebook Connect feature to the mobile Web, and this enables users to take their Facebook identity all over the Internet. For instance, mobile surfers could use this to comment on other Web sites without having to sign up for a separate account.
Mobile access is becoming increasingly important for Facebook because most of its users are outside of the United States, and may be in markets where the cell phone is the primary computer. The company also recently began testing a mobile payment platform that could eventually be a critical component of Facebook’s future revenue plans.
Other social networks are also attentive to the mobile space, and rival MySpace expects nearly half of its members will access the site through a phone within five years. Companies such as Loopt and Brightkite are also trying to gain traction by emphasizing location-based features.
Facebook and other social networks can be time wasters, but they also have the potential to be useful tools for enterprise collaboration.