Facebook has announced Facebook Connect for the iPhone, which enables users to take their Facebook friends, identity and privacy with them wherever they go.
Facebook announced the new capability on March 14 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2009 conference, noting that there are nine applications currently live in the iTunes app store, with more to launch in the coming days.
Developers can get started taking advantage of Facebook Platform APIs to add social context to all kinds of iPhone applications.
Facebook Connect for the iPhone provides the first live social experience for iPhone and iPod Touch applications, as users can now connect with their Facebook friends to play games-whether their friends are at home on a computer, or on their iPhone-and share restaurant reviews on the go, location-based status updates, and more.
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In a March 14 blog post, Joe Hewitt, the engineer who built Facebook for iPhone, said:
""A few months ago, we announced Facebook Connect, an extension of Facebook Platform that makes it easy for you to bring your friends with you all over the Web. We're now expanding this to Apple's revolutionary iPhone and iPod touch, making it easy to connect with your Facebook friends in your favorite applications from Apple's App Store."If you've used Facebook Connect on the Web, this will seem pretty familiar. You can now use Facebook Connect on your iPhone in the same way you can for a website. Simply download any application featuring Facebook Connect and log in using your Facebook account from your iPhone. Then, you'll be able to easily find your Facebook friends. They will be able to see the same profile information as they can on the site, controlled by your privacy settings. You can also share what you're doing with your iPhone applications with all of your Facebook friends by publishing stories back to your profile.""
Facebook officials said several developers are working on Facebook Connect for iPhone applications that will begin to be released shortly.
"In the coming days, many more applications will be available in Apple's App Store so keep checking back," Hewitt said. "If you don't see your favorite iPhone application soon, ask the developer to implement Facebook Connect -- together we can make your application experience on the iPhone truly social."
Meanwhile, according to Gareth Davis, another Facebook engineer who wrote a March 14 blog post, "Facebook Connect easily lets developers make their websites and desktop applications more social. And with the explosion of iPhone apps over the last year, we want iPhone developers to reap all the benefits Facebook provides."
""If you develop apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, you can now start making those apps more social. With just a few lines of Objective-C code, your users can log in to Facebook from within your app, find their friends, then share what they do in your app back on Facebook, which opens up exciting new opportunities for your users.""
In addition, he said that now your iPhone apps can enjoy the benefits that Facebook Connect sites and Facebook Platform apps already enjoy, including:
"* Making API calls so your app can access users' profiles and share information on Facebook.* Publishing to Facebook via Feed forms.* Asking users for extended permissions, like offline access, so you can still interact with their data when they're offline."
Meanwhile, Limbo, one of the largest mobile social networks in the United States, today announced that Limbo for iPhone and iPod touch now features Facebook Connect for iPhone. iPhone and iPod touch users can link their Limbo and Facebook accounts, enabling automatic status and activity updates that are shared between the two accounts.
With Facebook Connect, Limbo members can see their Facebook friends on Limbo without their friends having to be Limbo members. They can also view the status of their friends on Limbo based on their Facebook status message, or automatically set an "On Facebook" status for members who are logged on and active on Facebook.
"Our members want a new way to share their experiences from their iPhone or iPod touch with friends who may not yet be Limbo members," said Jonathon Linner, Limbo's CEO, in a statement. "Now that Limbo features Facebook Connect for iPhone, they can easily share and distribute information and experiences with their friends via Facebook status updates, requests and notifications. The location-aware emphasis of the Limbo application enables users to find and meet up with their friends to increase face time and real world experiences. This makes it even easier to connect with friends in the real world, not just online."