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Facebook looks to woo developers with new tools for growth

The company's platform offers new tools to help developers gain exposure

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Facebook, in a push to make its platform more useful for third-party developers, is launching tools to give their apps more exposure, including a mobile "like" button.

The mobile "like" button, unveiled Wednesday at the company's F8 conference, will function just as the "like" button on the mobile Web and desktop version of Facebook does.

Users who click on the button will "like" pieces of content from the developer's app, and share them back to Facebook. The button is currently in beta test and will be rolling out to app developers of the next couple of weeks.

Also in beta is a new tool in Facebook's platform called "send to mobile," which will provide a link to let end users send an app to download on their smartphone if they visit the app's mobile website and log in with Facebook.

The tools come as the social network looks to expand its platform of services to attract more app developers.

Facebook's platform already includes a number of APIs (application programming interface) to help developers build their apps, the most recognizable of which might be the "log in" button.

But Facebook has faced challenges, including around the log-in button, amid consumers' concerns over data privacy. Facebook seeks to address that issue with a new anonymous log-in feature, also announced Wednesday at F8.

"We're focused on building a stabile mobile platform," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, during a keynote address. "We think we can help you ship even more great apps," he said to an audience of developers.

Another growth tool announced Wednesday is "message dialogue," which will let people share content from mobile apps with friends through Facebook's Messenger messaging app.

Finally, a new comprehensive program, called FbStart, will allow app developers to apply to receive a package of Facebook platform services worth up to US$30,000.

But growth tools comprise just one area where Facebook is looking to provide more services. The company on Wednesday also announced a mobile advertising network, which will let developers tap into Facebook's user data to devise their ad campaigns.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com



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