Facebook’s future is mobile

Facebook's Erick Tseng at Mobilize 2011While many of us still access Facebook through our web browsers, the social network is increasingly becoming a mobile powerhouse. At GigaOM Mobilize conference Tuesday, Erick Tseng, Head of Mobile Products for Facebook, said that the company may soon be more of a mobile company than one which develops for the web.

Tseng noted that of the 800 million Facebook users on the social network today, approximately 350 million access the service through a mobile device. “We will soon become a company where more than half of all our users will be mobile users,” he said.

In part, that’s due to Facebook increasingly seeing adoption in countries like India and China, where broadband connectivity isn’t as pervasive but almost everyone gets Internet through mobile. “We’re getting to the point now where the countries we’re going into … don’t have many computers at all,” Tseng said.

To reach those users, Facebook will also need to build mobile experiences that are available on more than just smartphones like the iPhone (s AAPL) or Android devices. (s GOOG) Earlier this year, Facebook acquired Israeli startup Snaptu, which has technology that helps translate the Facebook experience to feature phones. Tseng said that would allow Facebook to show really advanced features on low-end phones, helping it to reach more new users around the world.

Facebook also could move beyond mobile apps and become even more embedded on the next generation of phones, something that the social network is working toward with a number of OEMs, Tseng said. “Every phone is… much more useful when it’s informed about what you know,” Tseng said. “Where we want to evolve to is a place where you don’t have to go into [a Facebook app] to make it social… it should be pervasive throughout.”

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