During its earnings call, social network giant Facebook had revealed that it would begin to create more standalone apps for its services rather than forcing people to use the main Facebook app. Though the strategy is new, it’s something that Facebook had attempted before with success in the past thanks to a standalone Messenger app.
Rather than using the messaging tab in the main Facebook app on iOS or Android platforms, downloading the Facebook Messenger app allows users to load up their Facebook chats more quickly and dive into the conversation without having to get through the news feed.
It’s something that may take away time that Facebook may want you to spend exploring all the wall posts and news items your friends are writing, but it’s a strategy that creates more engagement and may help Facebook compete more effectively against dedicated services. In the messaging app category, there is already plenty to compete with–Viber, Skype, Tango, Google Hangouts, BBM from BlackBerry, and more–and the move has so far paid off for Facebook, at least well enough for the company to explore additional standalone apps.
And given the tight integration between apps, services, and smartphones, we have three suggestions for apps that Facebook could build out:
1. Facebook Photo Sharing App:
Creating a standalone app for viewing and sharing photos may sound like it’s too simplistic, but it’s an idea that has worked well for Instagram, a company that Facebook had acquired. Rather than get clogged down by the shares of news posts, links, and other content, a photo-centric app could allow Facebook users to share publicly and privately while at the same time offer consumers an easy way to back up their photos to the cloud and onto Facebook’s servers. Such an app could become the mobile hub of photos in the same way that Flickr was the photo hubs on the web when it was at its peak.
And giving users enough privacy controls for private group sharing, individual one-on-one sharing, and public sharing, Facebook could also take on Apple’s Photo Stream, Snapchat, and others.
2. Video Sharing App:
From Vine to Instagram videos to YouTube, smartphones are allowing consumers to create and produce more content and share it with their audiences. By serving as a publisher in an elegantly designed video-centric interface, a Facebook Videos app could potentially serve as the hub where memories are stored. It could compete against YouTube, but with the right video filters and simple to use video editing software, a Facebook Video App would become the hub for personal memories. And if Facebook could convince you to share enough videos, you likely won’t be able to leave the site and your memories of your children growing up on film.
3. Facebook Check In App:
Facebook already has a check in service in the app that allows you to share where you’ve been, what restaurants you’ve frequented, and what shops you’ve patronized recently. Offering a simple stand-alone app, perhaps with reviews and commentary from previous patrons of businesses, Facebook could go head-to-head with Yelp and Foursquare and would be able to compete with user reviews on Google Maps. With the amount of users on the social network already, a crowdsourced review site of local businesses from Facebook members may be just the ticket to discovering the places your friends like.
Sacrificing Surfing for Engagement
If Facebook does release all the apps we’ve mentioned, this means that users will likely spend less time in the Facebook app and potentially on Facebook.com. However, users will be more engaged with the content and the creation, which could help Facebook as new apps and services threaten Facebook’s dominance. Additionally, it could help Facebook expand its advertising to more apps, even if those apps were built in-house.