I recently had an interesting discussion with Henri Moissinac of Facebook Mobile about their Mobile Strategy , their growth in the mobile space and their plans for one of the largest markets in the World – India.
Nokia is the largest handset manufacturer in the world and Facebook is currently the largest social networking site. The partnership between Facebook and Nokia started with Nokia’s popular devices Nokia 5800 and Nokia N97 and the partnership has been quite fruitful till now, with applications and home screen widgets released for Nokia 5800 and N97. That being said, the future possibilities seem endless and quite promising with the recent announcement of the Lifecasting application at Nokia World which ushers in a lot of excitement for the users.
The Facebook app on the iPhone platform is by far one of the most downloaded applications on the Apple App Store and the recent 3.0 version of the app is quite simply one of the best applications developed ever on the iPhone platform.
Henri said that that the first Mobile version of Facebook was developed for Blackberry phones and that the Facebook Connect feature was featured first on the iPhone and is now getting expanded to all the mobile phones with a web browser shortly.
At Nokia World, Facebook broke some big news like:
1. Launch of the OVI Lifecasting App for N97 and N97 Mini
2. Over 65 million members reach Facebook via mobile devices every month
3. Launch of Facebook Connect for Mobile Web
Facebook mobile is currently one of the most popular websites on the mobile internet and also there is a rapid growth in the number of mobile users logging in every day. Therefore to make things easier for mobile developers to authenticate users via Facebook, the Facebook Connect for Mobile Web has been launched. This works on any mobile phone with a browser and very soon you can share info on Facebook from any mobile website or mobile application. Facebook will be also rolling out native libraries for S60 and other platforms soon.
Henri said that the huge activity on the iPhone App is not only because it’s popular in the US market but also because of its large user base and the huge amount of feedback which the product team receives from the users. And now with the partnership with Nokia, Facebook Mobile expects Facebook to reach to a wider audience all thanks to the huge user base Nokia possesses. Henri Also added that, the strategy of Facebook is to cater to every single mobile user irrespective of the mobile phone he/she is using.
Facebook works with over 180 mobile operators across the world and is looking forward to partner with more operators. When asked about Facebook’s partnership with Aircel in India , Henri said that Facebook Mobile drives a lot of mobile traffic to Aircel’s networks and as you might already know Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India’s Cricket Captain, is the Brand Ambassador for Aircel and might have seen him in the Pocket Internet Ads featuring Facebook during IPL Season II. Henri also added that SMS is a very popular in India and the 92-FACEBOOK (9232232665) number is operated in associated with SMSGupshup.
When asked if the main aim of Facebook’s mobile offerings was to drive users to the web version, Henri said that the main aim of Facebook was to let users connect, share and network with friends wherever they are. When asked about competition from peers like Orkut on the mobile space, Henri mentioned that Facebook is a clear leader in India in the mobile space and that its looking forward to more partnerships with operators. Henri said they are also working on improving its SMS based offerings.