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Facebook Upgrades Mobile With Single Sign-On, Local Deals

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"Friction-free." That was the catchphrase at Facebook's press conference today in Palo Alto, where the social network aggressively moved to own the log-in standard for mobile.

Three key pieces in their mobile strategy were announced: Single Sign-On; Location APIs for check-in to Facebook Places from third-party apps; and -- big news for brands -- Facebook Places check-ins are now enhanced with local deals, allowing businesses to direct promotions by individual, loyalty, friend and non-profit categories.

To help spur Facebookers to check-in and check out local deals, GAP (which used Facebook to gauge reaction to, and then retract, its recent logo) is giving away 10,000 pairs of jeans to the first 10,000 customers who check-in via mobile or in-store. Northface is also making a charitable donation of one dollar per check-in (up to $150,000) to reward visitors at a store or National Park.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated, simply, "Our goal is to have all apps be social regardless of platform. We're a developer-heavy company with a horizontal approach to platform."

The new Single Sign-On (SSO) platform thus enables developers to add single click FB sign-in to mobile apps. Similar to Open Graph API for the web, FB users click a branded 'log-in' button to implement that service. Partners already using SSO include Groupon, Yelp, Loopt and Zynga.

The phrase "friction-free" was richly used along with a simple but deceptively complex graph showing the circle of life in the new Facebook Mobile world: Single-Sign On > Happy People > Happy Developers. Developers can build in SSO capabilities with a few lines of code. FB has also opened Read/Write/and Search API's to ensure that all future apps are "mobile social local."

Zynga's Justin Cinicolo introduced Zynga poker, the first game to debut on Android. Zynga's Facebook stats are already astounding: 6 million players daily; 375,000 concurrent users; 90,000 players a minute. Its mission -- to "connect the world through games" -- just got easier with today's news.

Loopt's Sam Altman extolled the benefits of "unified data" as supporting the "social first" experience. "Where are my friends and where do they go first when they're in this location?"

Zuckerberg concluded by saying that "the change in mobile is similar to the revolution in the social space. Any product area can be rethought to be social - remaking entire industries." Hmm... the potential for brand advertising just got revolutionized as well.

One brand partner who walked away empty handed from today's event: Apple. Asked when Facebook would be building an iPad app, Zuckerberg replied,"iPad isn't mobile, it's a computer -- not mobile like phones."

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