The tech press have been invited to Facebook HQ today for the second time in as many months. Today's invitation reads "Mobile Event," and there are a number of speculations about what Facebook will unveil.
Perhaps it's an expansion of Facebook Places, with the addition of Groupon-like shopping deal check-ins. Perhaps it's an iPad app, to be released in time with the upcoming iOS 4.2. Perhaps it's better support for the entire Facebook platform - games and all - on mobile devices. Or perhaps it's an announcement about a Facebook smartphone, something that was rumored early this fall.
The event starts at 10:30 PST, so tune in here. You can also watch video from the event via Facebook Live.
10:30 AM: Looks like we're a little late starting, as the San Francisco Giants' victory parade seems to be slowing the press's arrival.
10:36 AM: Mark Zuckerberg opens with a story about walking to work. Lady catches him and asks "what are you launching today?" "Today we are talking about the mobile platform we are building today
10:37 AM: 200 million using Facebook across all mobile platforms. A much bigger platform than Android, biggest mobile platform
10:38 AM: Refreshing some of the app, including iPhone
10:39 AM: Groups successful release. When Groups launched, no mobile app, but it will be in the next release of iPhone app
10:39 AM: Improving tagging interface for Facebook places - where you are and who you are with
10:40 AM: Improve photo sharing on Places
10:41 AM: Refreshing the Android app, which has "always been a little behind"
10:41 AM: Places and Groups will also be added to rerelease of Android app. "This will give a big boost to the ecosystem."
10:42 AM: Rumor about Facebook building a phone. "No," says Zuckerberg, emphatically.
10:43 AM: If the goal is to build a social platform, developers should be able to build in a "social environment no matter the platform you are building on"
10:44 AM: First thing: Single sign-on. Making it much less of a hassle to use any social app on the phone
10:45 AM: Currently signing on "sucks." So you should be able to log in once. "This will unlock a lot of experiences that haven't been possible until today." "A fundamental shift"
10:45 AM: Location API to be launched
10:46 AM: Open up the Write API so the Location API is truly open
10:47 AM: Deals platform.
10:47 AM: Eric Tseng, Facebook's mobile developer - "a pivot from a mobile app to a mobile platform"
10:49 AM: The more friction with logging in, the less likely that people will stay there. 'Happier users log in more."
10:50 AM: Great for developers as it's just a single line of code
10:53 AM: Mihir Shah from Groupon explains how single sign-on will work with the Groupon app. "Really easy to work with."
10:54 AM: Justin Cinicolo from Zynga. Zynga also announces debut on Android platform with Zynga Poker
10:55 AM: At any minute, 90,000 players going "all in" in Zynga Poker.
10:57 AM: Tseng argues it makes it easy to "bring your friends with you." Tseng lists other companies that have been working with single sign-on's development:
10:58 AM: Update to Android SDK. Within the next week, there'll be an update to the iPhone SDK as well.
10:59 AM: "Merging social, location, mobile."
10:59 AM: "Add new data to the graph"
11:00 AM: "We're looking at a mobile platform now" as there are things that you can do only on mobile - specifically location.
11:00 AM: Opening up Read, Write, and Search Location API
11:02 AM: Dave Fetterman explains how the new Location API will be integrated with other location apps - because people are checking in on Foursquare and Yelp and not just Facebook Places.
11:04 AM: Sam Altman, Loopt CEO demonstrates the new integration with Facebook Places. Just start with something simp as "data wants to be unified." If you check in with Loopt, it checks you in to Facebook Places
11:05 AM: Rather than just looking at reviews, people care "where their friends go." A "social first view" of places, in order to develop social graph together.
11:08 AM: If you don't have a Places dataset, the Places Search API will help return places, based on social ranking.
11:09 AM: In order to do "mobile, social, local," you need the data. The addition of the new elements to the Places API will enable that, according to Fetterman
11:10 AM: Newest product: Deals. Tim Kendall explains this new element to the Facebook platform. Up till now, check in has been "one way." The new changes will allow merchants to push information out to customers, and hopefully attract new ones.
11:12 AM: You can locate the "deals nearby," not just the locations that are nearby. "Two clicks" to check in and claim the deal.
11:13 AM: Deals Platform will turn "fans" and online visitors into "real dollars, real experiences."
11:14 AM: To set up a deal is only one page - very easy for merchants to do. Finally a compelling reason for merchants to "be online."
11:15 AM: "The friend deal" - leveraging the social graph to make it work well for users.
11:16 AM: Gap will give away 10,000 pairs of free blue jeans for the first 10K people to check in to Gap. North Face will give $1 to charity any time someone checks in at a North Face store or at a National Park
11:18 AM: Launching the Deals platform with 22 premium partners this month, but also opening to 20K small businesses via the Pages app. Will be rolled out to all Page owners over the upcoming months.
11:20 AM: Zuckerberg asks those who worked on the platform to stand up. "Not a lot of people." Zuckerberg comments on the velocity with which Location has picked up.
11:21 AM: "A revolution in the mobile space" and "a revolution in the social space." "You can basically rethink any product area to be social." This will "remake whole industries."
11:22 AM: Questions time...
11:23 AM: CBS News: First question is, unsurprisingly, about security. "Very clear privacy console, so you can turn off your location participation." Particularly now that third-party has access. But Facebook says this will all be "opt in."
11:25 AM: AdAge: Facebook says merchants will be able to push out deals, but as it stands, it looks like user has to look for them. According to Facebook, if a user is connected to a local business, they'll see deals. They'll also discover deals if a friend checks-in. Also, Deals will be found in the "nearby" search.
11:28 AM: Mashable: When are you building an iPad App? "iPad isn't mobile," says Zuckerberg. ZING!
11:30 AM: The Next Web: How are you building out Places directory? Facebook says they'll be working to make the data "solid." There isn't a Create Places API, but that could be a next step.
11:31 AM: BBC: Did you see people "not bothered" to log in? And how do you see users interacting with Facebook? "Yes," to the first question. "We look at this as what YouTube did to video," with easy upload and reduction in friction. Zuckerberg says, "the more people use apps, the more they use Facebook."
11:37 AM: How will Deals be usable abroad? No date for international users.
11:38 AM: Wired: How will single sign-on work with mobile browsers? Functionality isn't here today to log in once no matter the platform, but it's on the "roadmap."
And that's it, folks. We'd love to hear your comments below, and we will tackle our analysis of today's announcements shortly.