Facebook’s mobile strategy has become clearer after introducing a new feature that allows retailers to offer discounts to customers near their stores.
The new Deals functions is similar to the retails offers from Groupon, and follows the launch three months ago of the FourSquare-like service Places.
Facebook also announced a sign-on feature, which means users can use their Facebook account to sign into other apps and accounts without adding new usernames or passwords.
Unveiling the new features Wednesday, the social networking giant revealed it is also a mobile giant, with more than 200 million mobile users – up threefold from a year ago.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg ruled out a Facebook phone but made it clear the company aimed to put Facebook on the maximum number of devices.
“It is bigger than Android or the iPhone,” Zuckerberg told reporters. “There’s been this rumor floating around recently that Facebook’s going to build a phone. No.”
Commented Wired: “Forget about the ‘Facebook Phone.’ Mark Zuckerberg’s strategy is to make every handset a Facebook Phone.
“The three prongs of Facebook’s platform are single-sign in, a locations service that apps can read and write to, and a deals platform that is tied to locations.”
Facebook has opened up the Places APIs to allow developers to integrate location into their apps.
“Facebook doesn’t seem to want to create a single operating system or a phone that embodies its mobile aspirations,” said GigaOm. “Whether it’s because Facebook doesn’t have the manpower yet or really has no larger ambitions is something we’ll have to see over time.”