Commentary

Can Facebook Corner The Mobile Web?

For Facebook, Notifications were always a brilliant way to get people to spend more time on its app without coming off as pushy or self-serving.

So, it makes perfect sense that the social giant is expanding its Notification system to include birthdays, life events, upcoming events, sports scores, and TV programming reminders.

And, that’s not all, according to Keith Peiris, product manager at Facebook. “You can also add additional, optional information that is tailored for you based on where you,” Peiris explains in a new blog post.

That includes weather updates, recommendations for nearby places to eat, movies playing in your area and local events.

The expanded service puts Notifications squarely in competition with Google Now, which endeavors to provide users with similar information.

The new system also should make it less likely that people need any other app, from Foursquare to Yelp to Fandango to ESPN to TV Guide, and so on.

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Yes, along with it its Instant Articles initiative, Facebook is clearly positioning itself as the only app you’ll ever need.

It would probably liken itself to a gateway, but that description only holds if people use Facebook as a starting point. While many curious users surely will continue branching out beyond Facebook, it’s possible (likely?) that an increasing number will be satisfied scrolling through its aggregated offerings, and then put down their phones before moving on to the rest of the Web.
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