Why Facebook is stoked about mobile

Folks at the social network think that its social graph and its speed are how they stay relevant in the mobile world.

Doug Purdy talks mobile at Facebook. Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

Facebook has been beaten up hard for the state of its mobile apps, but today the company wants the public to know that it thinks things are picking up.

In a press event at its headquarters today, the social network touted its improved ratings in the Apple app store following an upgrade of its iOS app.

"This is just the start for us," said Mick Johnson, Facebook's product manager for mobile. "We can now see a clear path forward to do all the things that we want to do."

The rampant shift by users to mobile devices has been a vexing problem for Facebook. The company's early mobile apps did not receive high ratings, and this is something the company said it is working to change. And it is well aware of the challenge ahead.

"What we are doing over time is making everyone a mobile engineer, and now every team is almost entirely mobile," Peter Deng, a product manager who works on messenger, said at today's event. Facebook is now running regular mobile and iOS training sessions, and aims to have 200 to 300 engineers trained up by the end of the year.

The company's executives also emphasized Facebook's continued dedication to HTML5 despite comments made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week. Facebook wants to be on any and all types of mobile devices, they said, and that means sticking by HTML5 since apps built with HTML5 can be accessed by any device.

"We want every person on the planet to be using Facebook," Doug Purdy, director of product management, explaining why Facebook will continue to use HTML5 to develop mobile apps.

Earlier this week, in his first public interview since Facebook went public, Zuckerberg conceded that the company made a strategic mistake by building its apps as Web apps, using HTML 5, and stressed that Facebook can improve on both fronts. Now, however, Facebook is working hard at building better apps for both iOS and Android.

Deng emphasized that not everybody uses iOS or Android, so while the company wants to improve the experience of its apps on these platforms, Facebook has also put efforts into making sure they have the reach that can be achieved through HTML5.

 

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