Facebook is integrating dozens of popular mobile apps into its interface, boosting revenue sources as its highly anticipated IPO approaches.
The Palo Alto Calif.-based company announced at a news conference at a San Francisco nightclub Wednesday it is partnering with 60 apps, including Pinterest, Foodspotting, Ticketmaster, eBay, TripAdvisor, LivingSocial, and Foursquare, and says more are soon to come.
The new app integration allows Facebook’s 800 million users to share tastes in fashion, food, fitness and other interests by choosing to publish purchases or activities to their profile every time they use one of the apps.
The site also added new types of postings besides the standard “like” feature, allowing users to include terms such as “bought,” “read,” or “want” in posts.
The new features highlight Facebook’s aim to create a cohesive app community to rival Apple’s and Google’s, and will boost the company’s revenues as it gets ready for its upcoming initial public offering, expected in a few months.
Facebook gets the bulk of its revenue from advertising. By allowing users to automatically post items they buy, songs they listen to, shows they watch, restaurants they eat at and places they visit, the site expects to drive more traffic to its advertisers by encouraging users to click on ads for things their friends “like,” “want,” or, “bought.”
The 60 apps are closely tied to Facebook’s Timeline profile feature, which rolled out to users about a month ago. Users can create a personalized report about their app activity and post it to their Timeline, allowing friends to see at a glance places they visited, foods they tried, jogging routes they explored, items they bought and other interests.
The first wave of apps Facebook will push are versions of existing online services and mobile apps that already have millions of users. However, Facebook expects to ask developers to create custom offerings as people get more comfortable using apps to enhance their Facebook profiles.
As the demand for Facebook apps increases, it will provide new, potentially lucrative opportunities for app developers, as well as give the company a way to boost revenues by promoting products and services directly to users and their vast friend networks.
Facebook is pushing for more mobile-driven revenue as it develops into a social and communications platform in its own right, separate from the iOS and Android devices many people use to access the social network. The social media giant’s new app strategy is part of its evolving mobile strategy and is key to those ambitions.
Now, by allowing users to seamlessly integrate app use with their social network, Facebook takes another step toward becoming an independent, cohesive, profitable platform in preparation for its IPO.
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