After what seemed like endless rumors and speculation, Facebook announced the launch of its iPad app this week. The app looks pretty much exactly like you’d expect it to, porting Facebook’s familiar user interface over to the iPad’s larger interface.
The iPad Facebook app is fine, if a year or two late. We’re more intrigued by a secondary announcement that “Facebook Platform,” which lets apps interact with Facebook, is extending to mobile — iPhone, iPad, and the mobile web version (and later, Android too).
This means the various music services supported by Facebook Music should now be able to offer the same social experiences on mobile devices as they can on the web.
“The features we are launching today are still under development,” reads Facebook’s announcement. “They will evolve as we learn more about building richer social experiences on mobile devices.”
Here’s where things stand today.
If you’re using a Facebook-integrated mobile app (MOG, Spotify, Rdio, etc.), your plays there are already being scrobbled to your Facebook profile — just like they would if you were listening at your computer.
“It does, assuming you’ve set the proper permissions,” Facebook spokesman Derick Mains told Evolver.fm. “I know this because the six consecutive plays of ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’ for my kids on Rdio recently showed up to all of my friends.”
However, when your friends play something in a supported app, you can’t see that in your own mobile version of Facebook — yet.
“Today you can only view listening activity on the web,” explained Mains. “We are looking at ways to integrate it into mobile but haven’t announced anything specific.”
So basically, Facebook is halfway to fully-fledged music sharing on mobile devices. You can send what you’re hearing to Facebook, but you can’t see what your friends are listening to. The new Facebook apps allow you to launch third-party apps from within the Facebook app when you see a friend has been up to something, so all the ducks are almost in a row here, so to speak. All that needs to happen is for Facebook to figure out how to integrate your friends’ listening activity into the app without ruining the interface.
When it happens, this logical next step for Facebook’s evolution as a social music platform means we will be able to share music and hear shared music from the car, a barbecue, a house party — anywhere we’d carry a phone or tablet — instead of just while sitting at the computer.
It’s like a form of Microsoft Zune that people will actually use.