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Facebook baits Android devs with better sharing, tracking

In return for giving Android developers improved tools, the social network should benefit from more sharing -- and more ad buys.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
2 min read
facebook hacker square
Facebook's Hacker Square at the Menlo Park headquarters. Facebook

Facebook is courting Android developers with a bevy of new tools designed to generate social-network buzz for their apps and provide additional insight on in-app user actions.

Tuesday, the social network released an updated software development kit for Android with its "Share Dialog," which was first made available to iOS developers in May. The tool allows Android app makers to eliminate friction for people who want to share their app actions to Facebook, and the idea is to get Facebook-connected audiences sharing more, faster.

facebook android share dialog
Android developers can now update their applications to make sharing to the social network as fast as possible. Facebook

"People now have the option to share activity from your apps without needing to login to Facebook first, eliminating up to 3 extra steps required for login when sharing via the feed dialog," Software Engineer Chris Lang explained in a blog post. "With just one line of code, you can enable people to start sharing in an engaging way that lets them tag friends and share where they are."

With the Android SDK update, Facebook also hopes to make its already popular mobile app install ads, which promote third-party apps in the News Feed of Facebook's iOS and Android app, even more attractive to app makers. The social network is giving app makers the option to track in aggregate pre-defined types of in-app behaviors, such as when people click to add items to a shopping cart, so they can better approximate the value of their Facebook-connected member base.

Building on that, Facebook will let developers then target people who have taken pre-defined actions in their apps. Developers can create these "custom audience" groups and upload them as encrypted lists to the social network's ads tool for ad-targeting purposes.

Facebook said 73 percent of the top grossing Android apps are integrated with the social network. Tuesday's updates, which also include a beautified login interface, are meant to entice more developers to not only put Facebook hooks inside their apps but to buy mobile app installs ads.

The company's efforts to lure more developers with Android additives could have a significant impact on the bottom-line. Facebook's blossoming mobile app installs business is already helping the company successfully make money from the 819 million people using Facebook's mobile apps.