A mobile Facebook

I watched The Social Network yesterday. It was my second time watching the Facebook-inspired biopic. It’s a great flick, however true-to-life it was. The film is bringing even wider publicity to the social networking site — originally called The Facebook as the movie accurately depicts — and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Screenshot of Facebook’s initial layout, The Facebook

It’s a communication vehicle, a networking resource, and so much more. In the movie, after Facebook had taken over at Harvard University, they make reference to the term “facebook me.” I guess it’s today’s version of, um, “look me up in the phone book.” But it’s definitely a sign of universal adoption, similar to Google’s climb to the top. “Google it.” Or Photoshop, which has become synonymous with photo editing. Becoming a verb is the ultimate goal for a company.

Users, all 500 million of them around the world, are spending more and more time on Facebook. At work, at home and on the go via smartphones. Even the term “on facebook” does not refer to http://www.facebook.com anymore with the adoption of Facebook application for smartphones and the new Facebook phone itself.

Mobile is taking over my life. I’m on my Droid all day. And night. I’ll often be surfing the web on my Droid with my laptop right next to me. I use Facebook on my smartphone almost as much as I am on my laptop and my work PC.

I wrote some of this blog post on my Droid. Yep, with my recently installed WordPress app. In fact I’m writing this sentence on it.

I’ve read more news on my Droid (my first smartphone) in the last six months than probably the previous six years with access to newspaper and TV. Smartphone news apps like New York Times, USA Today, CNET News, Engadget, NPR News, CBS News, Yahoo! News, The Huffington Post and many more. Text-based and videos. In some cases, the same news videos that air on TV.

The world is becoming increasingly mobile. And the brands and companies that move with that shift will prosper. While those that don’t will have to play catch-up.

Smartphone users are on the rise, 60 percent higher at the end of 2010 than it was a year ago.  Smartphoners are ready to eclipse the number of feature phone (dumbphone) users. That should occur sometime in 2011.

In the three-month period between September of 2010 and December of 2010, nearly 25% of mobile subscribers accessed a social networking site.

Rockmelt web browser. Powered by Google’s Chromium, Rockmelt is like Google Chrome with full Facebook integration (as well as Twitter). I’m typing in it right now. The browser window looks the same. Tabs, the same. But my Facebook friends are in a side bar to my left. Facebook status updates pop up at the bottom of the screen from time to time, telling me what’s happening in my friend circle.

I can chat with my friends without opening a new tab, or without going to Facebook.com. I just click on a friend’s name in the left panel and the chat bar slides open.

Below is a screenshot I took while composing this post. You can see my friends on the left panel.

Facebook application. The Facebook application on smartphones is a quicker, slimmer version of  facebook.com. It launches faster than opening a browser on your smartphone and is basically a mobile version of the website. You can navigate all of Facebook’s features on the application, like the News Feed, your Profile, your Friends, Messages, Places, the new Groups feature, Events, Photos and Facebook Chat. Facebook chat on your mobile phone is a nice feature, essentially a free texting service. And an untitled photo stream, similar to the news feed but with only photos uploaded by your friends. And then there’s Facebook’s new messaging service.

The Facebook phone. Facebook itself is not building a phone, that we know of. But other manufacturers are building phones that integrate the social networking site into its phone (similar to Rockmelt’s inclusion in its web browser). One Facebook phone manufacturer is INQ (pronounced “ink”). The company has actually introduced two versions of its Facebook phone, the Cloud Touch and the Cloud Q.

“We want to have every user in every market using Facebook– we’re investing in smartphones and at the same time as in mass market phones because we believe with great features and great integrations, every phone can become sociable.” – Henri Moissinac, Facebook’s Head of Mobile Business

HTC (pronounced, um, HTC) is also developing a Facebook phone, set to be introduced this month according to reports. The phone will have a dedicated Facebook Button that will take users directly to Facebook. “It’s one of HTC’s main pushes for this year,” a person familiar with HTC’s strategy told Financial Times.

However the Facebook phones turn out,  one thing is for sure: this is only the beginning.

Facebook is integrating itself into every aspect of our lives. On the web, on our phones and on the go via status updates, photos, tagged friends and events.

Facebook’s “Like” feature, as Zuckerberg likely envisioned, stretches all across the web, making Facebook the center of it all.

And we all know it’s not over. Facebook is not done expanding, evolving and becoming even more entrenched in our personal and business lives. I, for one, welcome the intrusion.

Source: comScore, comScore MobiLens, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology, http://gizmodo.com/

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