A little while back there were some interesting rumors that Facebook was building a phone. The social networking company shot down those rumors, insisting that, though mobile projects were often referred to as 'Facebook phone" among staff members, they wouldn't be building a phone. Still, people held on to hope, even suggesting that Facebook was being sly with its language and the use of the word 'build.' After all, Google didn't build the Nexus One, HTC did. Needless to say, when Facebook announced mobile event for this week, chatter about a Facebook phone started up again.
However, eager to quash rumors once and for all, CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday kicked off the event by reiterating his company's previous statement on the Facebook phone:
"There's been this rumor going around that Facebook is going to build a phone. No," Zuckerberg said.
So if Facebook isn't building a phone, what was the mobile event all about? Well, it's clear the company has been spending a lot of time on its mobile platform. The company announced several updates for the iOS and Android versions of the Facebook Mobile app, with the Android version in particular enjoying a fairly substantial update. Most Android users will know that the Facebook app before was, well, a steaming pile, to put it eloquently. The updated version means Facebook for Android is now on par with the iPhone version.
Aside from improving smartphone applications already available, Facebook yesterday debuted Deals, a new feature that will utilize user locations to give local business owners the ability to offer deals to users using Facebook Places to check into their establishments.
The company is also building on the idea of Facebook Connect with a new single sign-on feature. Users already signed into Facebook Mobile will be able to sign into third party applications that make use of the Facebook single sign-on API without entering in their username or password. It's already supported for several Android apps including Flixster, Groupon, Loopt, SCVNGR, Yelp and Zynga, and InformationWeek reports that iPhone users will see single sign-on in their apps soon enough.
Though many people will find these new features useful, they're also kind of scary. The bigger and more useful Facebook becomes, the more it feels like a major risk to have an account at all. A lot of our readers say that they're glad they never registered for Facebook, but our Facebook page has more than 20,000 fans, so we know that many of you do have accounts. Do you ever regret registering? Let us know in the comments below!