[qi:gigaom_icon_google-android] Google is looking to make future versions of its Android operating system more social, said Andy Rubin, one of its creators and Google’s vice president of engineering (platforms), at an event in San Francisco earlier this morning. The event was held with T-Mobile USA to announce the launch of its newest Android-based phone, the MyTouch.
Frank Meehan, CEO of INQ Mobile, a speaker at our Mobilize 09 conference, must be really proud. He was the first to develop a device that specifically marries social networking to mobiles. And now everyone is doing it — including Google.
When I asked Rubin today why the self-described open platform doesn’t feature a native Facebook app, he said that social networking would be a key feature in future versions of Android. Google recently released Android’s latest version — code-named “Cupcake” — and will soon follow with Donut, Eclair and Flan. (What’s with the pastry fetish?)
Rubin said that Google doesn’t believe that applications should be silos and wants to help develop ones that deeply enmesh various mobile experiences — Internet, voice and location, for example. It’s taking a similar approach to social networking. “We are making a social push and we are looking at a more integrated experience,” he said. He declined to give any more details, including which future release of Android will carry these features, but I suspect we’ll be seeing them sooner than later.
The reasoning is pretty simple — that nature of communications is changing from just voice to many different modes. “Address book needs to be redefined,” Rubin said. Absolutely. As I wrote earlier, “Like email and instant messaging, Facebook (and soon Twitter) are what we use to stay in touch with our friends, colleagues and family.”
Anyway, to make a long story short (or is it too late for that?), someday there will be a Facebook app for Android that is made by the Palo Alto-based social network and it’s going to be as good as the one it has on the iPhone.