Has Facebook Declared an App War?


Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) recently wrapped up its F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco, and some pretty exciting announcements were made. The company launched a few new programs to help users and businesses increase productivity and make the overall app experience more efficient and seamless.

FbStart
Facebook has teamed up with companies including Adobe, Mailchimp, Quip, Asana, and more to launch a program that "provides developers with free tools and services worth up to $30,000" to help start-ups take off. The goal is to help developers either get their businesses up and running or accelerate growth. Facebook's blog about the program gives detail on the process:

App developers can apply to participate in FbStart, and if selected, will receive credits for Facebook advertising and Parse, plus free services from companies that deliver product testing, recruiting, customer care, video conferencing and document management.

Developers using iOS and Android systems can apply, and there is no requirement to integrate with Facebook. Developers can choose from two tracks to success: the Bootstrap track and the Accelerate track. Bootstrap is for companies that are just starting up, while Accelerate is the track for companies that need to boost growth. Facebook is not only helping developers launch their businesses, the company is also helping them connect to each other more smoothly while making apps more efficient for users.  

App Links
App Links
is a platform that is set to make linking for apps easier. Facebook has gotten a head start on competitors Apple, Google, and Microsoft by creating a way for apps to link to each other on mobile the same way websites link to each other on the web. This will allow users to easily complete various tasks within one app without having to go through the process of closing and opening multiple apps. Below is a video from the App Links website giving more insight on how it works. 

App Links Home Page Intro from Liquid Agency on Vimeo.

App Links is open-source and available to anyone who wants to use it. Even if developers don't have a website, they can still link to other apps via Parse. Deep linking is made easy with Facebook or self-created API, and it's coded to truly work across all platforms. 

It's possible that Apple or Google will create their own deep-linking platforms, but the issue with that option is that both companies are big on creating brand-exclusive apps that need extra apps to simply work across other platforms. If either company creates its own comparable deep-linking platform, Facebook's App Links would likely still be the preferred linking tool, simply for the cross-platform compatibility. In short, Facebook is the dark horse of the app market, outsmarting the competition by being universal and providing efficient solutions.

Taking off
Helping developers boost their businesses is a noble project that is worthy of investment. Leading the way in making mobile apps more accessible and easier to use sets the company up to outshine competitors by being universal. If Apple is our thesis and Google is our antithesis, then Facebook is our synthesis -- connecting the world efficiently in one place. With these latest developments and the good news of Facebook's first quarter earnings for 2014, the company is well-positioned to make good on its mission to connect the world while continuing to be profitable. 

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