How important is mobile to Facebook? Already, 350 million of its 800 million monthly active users are on mobile devices, and that number is just going to get bigger. “Fundamentally we view it as a really big shift for our company, as fundamental as the shift from desktop apps to the Internet,” Facebook CTO Bret Taylor tells me in the TCTV interview above (which was shot at the Web 2.0 Summit earlier this week). “Companies really need to redefine themselves in this world of devices rather than browsers on people’s laptops.”
Taylor goes even further with this stunning prediction: “A few years from now, most every single person at Facebook who works there is going to be working on mobile almost exclusively.” Mobile and social go hand in hand. Facebook wants to create a seamless experience across the desktop and mobile, as well as between mobile devices.
Here is where Project Spartan may come in. Project Spartan is the unofficial name given to Facebook’s mobile HTML5 efforts. “I am not sure what Project Spartan was,” demurs Taylor before proceeding to explain how the mobile web it fits into Facebook’s overall mobile strategy. Facebook wants to be available everywhere on any device. If that means native mobile apps, that’s fine. But if someone doesn’t have a Facebook mobile app on their device, there will always be a mobile web version as well.
“Where we can play a role in mobile is just helping app discovery and engagement,” says Taylor. That ambition is actually quite large. App discovery is like search for mobile. Whoever controls it, controls what people can do on their phones.
In the video below, we talk about the interest graph and how there is an opening for startups to explore it. At the end, I also ask Taylor what he thinks about Google+.