Now that Facebook’s announced that Facebook Connect is available across the mobile web, it’s poised for a race to see which company can provide the best way to discover useful apps. (Facebook Connect is the company’s platform for allowing app developers to access users’ data so that they can carry their identity and friend-connections with them even outside of Facebook.)
“We can make the whole web social. Now we are going to do the same with mobile,” said Henri Moissinac, director of Facebook Mobile, at Nokia World in Stuttgart, Germany today. “Apps are better when you can play them with your friends. With Facebook Connect for mobile, you will now be able to share them with your friends.”
And that’s really where Facebook poses a threat to Apple’s walled-in App Store. There are currrently 65,000 apps vying for attention at the App Store, and it’s increasingly difficult for users to search through the heap and find things they like. But with Facebook Connect available on mobile, users will be able to rate and share apps they like with their friends, essentially solving the problem of “discoverability” (sorting through the heap to find the good stuff).
And if enough users start finding their mobile apps through their day-to-day social networking channels, that means fewer will need to file through the App Store or use native apps. Facebook could build up it’s own mobile app store that lives within the social networking site.
According to Moissinac, Facebook has already proven it’s potential in drawing mobile users to Connect. Half of all users have turned to Connect to link their iPhone apps to Facebook. (Facebook has seen mobile usage for its site surge to 65 million users last month.)
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