Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Facebook Still Not Making Much Money in Mobile, but Driving Lots of Traffic to Others

Ahead of its planned stock offering, Facebook is looking to show itself as a serious player in mobile, even if the company has yet to make much money in the category.

The social network has purchased Instagram, launched several industry initiatives and offered some details on its efforts to move its desktop platform onto phones and tablets.

On Wednesday, Facebook noted the impact it is having in driving traffic to other companies’ mobile apps.

“Facebook sent more than 160 million visitors last month to mobile apps (up from 60 million in late February),” the company said in a blog post. “These mobile visitors were responsible for more than 1.1 billion visits to mobile apps in the same time frame (up from 320 million in late February).”

Facebook also noted that seven of the top 10 grossing iOS apps and six of the top 10 grossing Android apps have Facebook integration — typically for identity and authentication. In its developer blog, Facebook touted integration work with BranchOut, Viddy and Flixter.

Mobile remains a huge question mark for the company’s future. Although Facebook apps remain among the top third-party downloads for all the major mobile operating systems, the service isn’t nearly as much of a platform for third-party developers as it is on the desktop.

Also, while the company is getting more and more of its traffic from mobile devices, most of its ad dollars come on the desktop.

Facebook has been working in several areas to address this, some of them publicly and others behind closed doors. Among its public efforts are an HTML5 platform and industry initiatives around carrier billing and Web apps.

As covered in a series of articles by AllThingsD, the company has also been working for more than a year on “Buffy,” its own phone technology built on top of Android. The company is expected to debut its own hardware, designed with Taiwan’s HTC, as early as the third quarter of this year.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik