Facebook Announces Single Sign-On, Location Upgrade, Deals Platform

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Following an introduction by Brandee Barker, Mark Zuckerberg kicked off this afternoon's live Facebook event by talking about the mobile platform.  As of today, 200 million people are actively using the Facebook Mobile product across all platforms, he noted, which is triple the number that were using it last year.

Next, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is "refreshing some of the apps in the line."  For the iPhone, it's improving Places tagging.  Zuckerberg believes tagging is a core social feature in order to achieve mainstream adoption.  Also for the iPhone, Facebook's making it easier to share a photo immediately after checking into a spot.

Then, for Android, Facebook's taking the big step of releasing both Groups and Places.

Zuckerberg went on to address the rumor about Facebook building a phone.  "What a novel idea," he said.  But Facebook's CEO followed up with a definitive "no," saying that Facebook wants to serve all platforms and users.

Instead, there were three other things he intended to announce.  First was "single sign-on," making it simpler to use any social app on a phone.  This removes friction for users (the need to type passwords over and over while signing into different apps), and developers only have to add a few lines of code.

The second announcement related to Location APIs.  Facebook's worked with a few partners, Zuckerberg said, and "we are going to open up the write API."  Any app can be built on top of this, Zuckerberg said, and Facebook's goal is indeed to build a location platform.

Finally, he announced a deals platform.  Launch partners include organizations as disparate as Gap and the Golden State Warriors, and Facebook's also opening it up to over 20,000 businesses that use Places pages, with a further rollout planned.  Organizations should be able to offer promotions and "buy X get one free" deals to people who check in or look for nearby deals on their phone.

Bonus comment: During the Q&A session, Mashable's Ben Parr lobbed a sort of put-down at the panel, questioning Facebook's focus on mobile by asking about the lack of an iPad app.  Zuckerberg drew lots of laughs by responding, "The iPad's not mobile.  Next question."  He classified it as a computer, instead.

A minute later, Zuckerberg took back the mic to add that he "didn't want to be rude to Apple . . . .  We all love Apple products and we want to work with them."