Facebook hits 100 million mobile users – puts chat on all IM clients

11 Feb 2010

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Social-networking player Facebook is now being used by more than 100 million mobile phone users around the world. The company today unveiled a new feature that allows people to use Facebook chat within various instant messaging (IM) clients using the Jabber protocol.

Facebook has reached the 100-million mobile device milestone just six months after it revealed that 65 million people were using it on their mobile devices.

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP in charge of user growth, said that the usage is occurring on almost every mobile carrier in the world.

“Through this growth, we have continued to try to improve the experience of these mobile products,” Palihapitiya said.

“We work with every major device manufacturer and many operators to ensure that we can provide the best possible mobile experience across the thousands of different devices, mobile operating systems and carriers you rely on.”

Resigns for m.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com

Palihapitiya said that mobile sites m.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com have been redesigned, enabling people to access Facebook from any mobile browser in more than 70 languages.

“With the explosion of smart phones, we want to make sure people have a great Facebook experience that scales with their device, especially as people have begun to upgrade their devices more frequently.”

Palihapitiya said that more than 80 operators in 32 countries enable millions of people around the world to stay connected and communicate with their friends on Facebook using SMS text messages.

“Recently, we also launched a URL-shortening service called FB.ME that makes it even easier for people to share content. With FB.ME, you can share and access more through services like SMS that limit the number of characters in messages.”

In terms of applications, Palihapitiya said Facebook works with every major device maker and mobile operating system to bring applications and integrations to all platforms.

“We’re always improving these applications and have recently released updates for our applications on Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia and Samsung. We also support a broad range of new Facebook experiences on devices from HTC, INQ, LG Electronics, Palm, Sony Ericsson and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile,” Palihapitiya added.

Facebook reveals new chat feature

In related news, Facebook has also revealed a new feature that allows Facebook users to put Facebook Chat on other instant-messaging (IM) clients using the Jabber (XMPP) open messaging protocol that is supported by most IM software, including iChat, Pidgin, Adium, Miranda and more.

As a result, more than 2 billion chat messages sent on Facebook every day can be sent to most people’s IM tool of choice.

“By integrating Facebook Chat with your preferred instant messenger, you’ll never miss a message when you have to navigate away from Facebook and you’ll be in control of how and where you chat with your Facebook friends,” explained Facebook engineer David Reiss.

“Simply connect your Facebook account with the instant-messaging client of your choice and start chatting. You will not need to stay logged into Facebook.com to continue to access your Facebook friends,” Reiss added.

“We’ve also built support for Facebook Chat into Facebook Connect for developers wishing to build chat experiences into their website, desktop or mobile instant-messaging applications and services. If you already have an AOL Instant Messenger account, you can check this out by connecting your Facebook Chat using the latest version of AIM,” Reiss said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: More than 100 million mobile phone users around the globe are using Facebook

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com