How kind of Facebook. The social networking giant reached out to developers recently inquiring what it can do to help the mobile web thrive in ways that it has not been able to yet. Facebook found that the three biggest challenges developers face when creating web apps are app discovery, browser fragmentation, and mobile payments.
While there are app stores to house native apps on mobile platforms, there’s no solution for mobile web app discovery. Facebook wants to change that. Without getting into specifics, the company said it will tackle the first feature by helping developers expose all 425 million of Facebook’s active mobile users to their apps.
App discovery is crucial, but what good is a user knowing about an app if the mobile browser they use doesn’t support it? That’s where browser fragmentation becomes a problem and Facebook is interested in fixing this as well. The Facebook team has created Ringmark, a new mobile browser test, for developers to determine which browsers have support for different types of functionality so they can build apps accordingly. Free access is available at rng.io.
Lastly, Facebook understands there needs to be a streamlined way to make mobile payments. After all, companies and developers need motivation to create and maintain mobile web apps in the first place. Using its own credit system, Facebook is “working with operators around the world to minimize the number of steps needed to complete a transaction in mobile web apps, which will make it easier for hundreds of millions of people worldwide to purchase apps on their device via operator billing.”
These three problems — app discovery, browser fragmentation, and mobile payments — all seem to have pretty viable solutions in the making thanks to Facebook. The social network will have more to say on the topic at Mobile World Congress.