10 Comments

Summary:

The Palm Pre is here, and while it hasn’t exactly felled the Goliath of Apple’s iPhone, it does have some features that are making iPhone users jealous. One is greater built-in social networking connectivity, including Facebook integration. The implementation of Facebook in Palm’s WebOS basically allows […]

facebookconnect

The Palm Pre is here, and while it hasn’t exactly felled the Goliath of Apple’s iPhone, it does have some features that are making iPhone users jealous. One is greater built-in social networking connectivity, including Facebook integration. The implementation of Facebook in Palm’s WebOS basically allows your Pre phone to store Facebook friend info in your address book, and then message those people directly from the phone.

Zynga wants Apple to make a similar move towards greater Facebook connectivity with the iPhone, but the game company has different motives, and very different integration goals as a result. Specifically, Zuora is looking for Apple to implement a platform-wide solution for a feature that it currently builds into each of its individual apps: Facebook Connect access.

Facebook Connect, for those who don’t know, allows users to enter their Facebook credentials to log into an app (web or otherwise) for a variety of purposes, including commenting on forums, and game score tracking and cross-platform integration. So, in Zynga’s case, for instance, it allows your Word Scramble scores on your iPhone and your Scramble scores on Facebook to be tracked across both.

Zynga clearly has a good reason, then, to want Apple to bake Facebook Connect right into the iPhone platform, since its users would then be saved the extra step of having to sign in every time they download and play a new Zynga game. It probably wouldn’t take much effort on Apple’s part to include the service, especially compared to the work required by game makers like Zynga to include it each and every time they produce a game. Including a Facebook Connect API would be much more efficient from a developer’s perspective.

While it makes lots of sense for companies in the social casual gaming sense like Zynga to push FB Connect integration, does it make sense from Apple’s perspective? If the benefits of inclusion only appeal to the relatively narrow audience of regular Zynga players who use both Facebook and iPhones, I doubt Apple will go out of its way to come up with a platform-wide solution on its side of things.

But the potential of Facebook Connect, or Google Friend Connect for that matter, could appeal to a much broader audience than just social game devs. Because FB Connect leverages the power of your social networking sites in the context of virtually any web-connected application, the possibilities that present themselves when you combine this tech with a device as prolific and app-oriented as the iPhone are endless. In theory, you could then have one cohesive identity for all web, phone, and app usage, all from your smartphone, where it makes sense, as opposed to on a computer, where that kind of access would present much more of a security concern.

Apple has to go somewhere from iPhone OS 3.0, and unlike the release of 2.0, user complaints and requests aren’t so deafening as to point the way (read the last paragraph, especially) for future feature inclusions. Facebook Connect integration is fertile ground, especially if one of Apple’s goals is to continue appealing to developers in new and interesting ways. Plus, Palm dropped the gauntlet on greater social network connectivity. Time to pick it up.

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  1. Zynga should focus instead on getting their apps to work properly before they go around suggesting what a company should be doing with their OS… but enough with the digression.

    Facebook connectivity sounds like a good thing initially, but it isn’t Apple’s (or Palm’s, or RIM’s, or Nokia’s, or any mobile OS developer’s) job to give one third party platform preferred access over any other. It is Facebook’s job to create a platform that can be easily integrated on various platform’s, and it is the third party developer’s job to integrate it into their apps. If facebook ends up going the route of myspace and friendster in the next few years, and fb connect becomes irrelevant, those developers (and the OS developers) will need to scramble to eliminate those hooks.

    Keep the OS platform agnostic, and let the other developers with a vested interest in a particular platform worry about that platform.

  2. Facebook connect support is the wrong direction to go. Facebook and Apple needs to build in support for openid and allow federated authentication from any compliant source that their users configure.

  3. This would have been a good idea about a year and a half ago but really facebook is on its death bed, especially the applications, its life from now on is a glorified address book, email alternative

  4. chicago att cell user Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Sounds like someone wants another App Store Approval controversy. You can be built it, but you can’t. Doubt this is a good idea. Just like those who are mad about the upgrade fees for 3G owners. I have a 3G and would love to get the 3Gs, but I’ve never been with any service (and I’ve tried most and think ATT service is awful) that would give you the subsidized price only a year into a contract. It pains me to defend ATT on this because I would jump ship in a heartbeat if iPhone became available on another network, but the upgrade fee isn’t the reason. Crappy service, blocking features available on their other phones from being on the iPhone (tethering, MMS), and terrible customer service. Apple should be criticized too. They have to be hearing all these complaints yet they say nothing. Maybe they want other carriers to see that they wont criticize them if their service isn’t flawless so they will cave to some of their demands and sign up to carry the iPhone. I can only hope so.

  5. FaceBook has all the hooks in the iPhone OS it needs for doing anything that it can currently do on WebOS. It can easily create an app that interacts with the iPHone Contacts app for instance using the SDK and the 3.0 OS *today*. Also, given the fact that Facebook is, you know … a web-based service, they could also easily make an iPhone web app that does anything and everything that the WebOS does.

    Besides which, Facebook is only a cool thing if you are on it. It only seems like the whole world because you are addicted to it. It’s the same as when MySpace first became popular. To those of us that aren’t involved with it or don’t like it (the majority BTW), it’s just another junky MySpace/MS Network/HotMail clone that will be replaced soon enough with an almost identical successor that will also be touted as “the latest thing.”

  6. Facebook Unveils ‘Everyone Button’ | Everything’s Better With Brentter Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    [...] Live, Nintendo DSi and most recently the Washington Post. It’s even been reported that Zynga has been pushing Apple to build the service into the next iPhone update. They’ve already had a million [...]

  7. Tony-Dog Tracking Devices Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Apple needs to get on the ball, because I have basically the same complaints that you spoke of here. If/when they decide make the necessary changes it’ll make my i phone usage less stressful!

    1. Does anyone know how to disable the Facebook login feature on an iPhone? Everytime I launch “Zynga live Poker” I’m only prompted with the option of signing in with my Facebook credentials.

  8. I am in favor of using FB connect in as many apps/platforms as possible. Apple should jump on board with this idea. Further integrating the social reputation / profiles into deeper depths of computer usage will also be a big bonus for advertisers.

  9. Top Clone Scripts Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Surely Apple would have no real valid reason for not allowing Facebook Connect. For one, it is an extremely good promotional tool, secondly, who is going to buy an iphone or i device if they cant use Facebook on it, and third, its just a silly for them to delay it.

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