Facebook's Open Graph going mobile

At MobileBeat 2010 conference, Facebook's head of mobile products, Eric Tseng, shares Facebook's plan to open its social-networking tools to mobile app developers.

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Eric Tseng, Facebook's head of mobile products.
Eric Tseng, Facebook's head of mobile products. Tom Krazit/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Facebook's Open Graph is the reason there are Facebook "Like" buttons strewn across the Web on sites that Facebook doesn't operate. Eric Tseng, Facebook's head of mobile products and a former product manager of the Google Nexus One phone, told the room at MobileBeat 2010 that Open Graph is going mobile.

What does this mean? Simply that as Facebook rolls out its Open Graph plug-ins to partners in the mobile space, many more of Facebook's social tools (such as that "Like" button, for instance) will show up in unrelated mobile apps that don't have their own social-networking tools.

The more interesting use case that Tseng outlined during his talk focuses on mobile marketing, a familiar theme at any mobile tech summit. Tseng painted a scenario in which friend recommendations aggregated from your existing network of Facebook friends are knit together with location-aware advertising. The idea is that geo-fenced apps that might push out coupons or other promotions to lure customers into a store could also incorporate friends' thoughts, and even location--thus adding context and personalization to what may otherwise come across as a spammy, intrusive hard sell.

Facebook's Tseng wasn't specific about the time frame, but did mention that the rollout will be ongoing, predominantly as updates to Facebook's kits for iPhone and Android developers. "Please, please start building that functionality into your apps today," he told the crowd.

If Tseng's appeal to developers is any indication, Facebook is banking on Open Graph to bring it greater domination than its current 150 million mobile users.