Facebook introduces mobile Deals
New feature will allow retailers to send special offers to Facebook users based on location
Facebook has announced several new programs to drive mobile usage of the social networking service.
The company has announced a new ‘Deals' feature, that will allow third party companies to offer deals to users, based on their locations and via mobile phone.
The feature builds on Facebook's ‘Places' feature, only available in the US, which allows users to broadcast their location. With Deals, once a user has checked in their location, retailers that are nearby to the user will be able to send deals and special offers to the user's mobile handset.
Facebook has so far signed up 22 retailers, including H&M, Starbucks, McDonalds and the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. One of the first offers is with clothing retailer Gap, which will offer a free pair of jeans to the first 10,000 users who check in to their local Gap store using Deals.
The company also announced that it will open up the Facebook Places API so that third party developers can integrate it with other location-based applications; and a single sign-on to access other applications using Facebook credentials.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said that the number of mobile users of Facebook has gone from 65 million to 200 million over the past 12 months, and that the mobile space provides new opportunities for social networking.
"What we've seen is that you can basically take or rethink any product area to be social so you take all of the interaction and have it be a lot more engaging, have it grow virally and remake whole industries. Mobile is a big area of expansion and building social apps is as big. When you combine them, it creates big opportunities for new companies to be built and industries to get disrupted," he said.
Zuckerberg also dismissed ongoing rumours that Facebook would launch its own mobile handset, stating: "Our goal is not to sell anything physical. Our goal is to make it so that everything can be social. It would be pretty silly for us to go after a strategy that focused on selling small number of phones and risk alienating all the partners that we need to work with in order to make all these places more social."