Facebook targets mobile as a new frontier

Aug. 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM
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MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A Facebook engineer said the Internet giant is putting development of a mobile presence front and center of the U.S. company's future.

"We have basically retooled and focused the company around mobile. It's been a huge change," said Mike Schroepfer, the firm's vice president for engineering.

The New York Times said Friday that an early Facebook Securities and Exchange filing listed mobile devices as potential risks, given the firm was oriented toward home computers and mobile devices were gaining momentum.

Industry analysts frequently list the mobile barrier as a major threat to Facebook, which went public in May and has seen its stock lose approximately half of its value.

The problem with mobile for Internet firms is that the screens are so small that ads are more intrusive than they are tucked alongside content on a larger computer screens.

Facebook is trying to solve the design problem and its compatibility with devices in general.

The company is having training engineers how to program for Apple's iPad and iPhone and for Google's Android mobile operating system.

Facebook is also developing systems to alert friends of a Facebook member when that member clicks on a discount coupon for a product or gives a product a "Like" designation.

Facebook is earning $1 million per day using a system called sponsored stories, which turns an online post into an advertisement, the Times said.

Industry analyst Melissa Parrish at Forrester Research said such thinking by Facebook was exactly right.

Mobile devices, she said, aren't just shrunk-down computers and consumers interact with different devices differently. She called sponsored stories a "baby step" in the right direction.

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