Social networks continue to aggressively seek opportunities to generate broader adoption of their services and communities, particularly with respect to the rapidly increasing mobile platform audience. Specifically, this trend is evidenced by some notable recent developments, including AOL subsidiary Bebo's February 1, 2009 announcement of its launch of "Bebo Open Mobile."
Bebo Open Mobile represents an open partnership program that offers the mobile industry access to a suite of development tools and interfaces that can be used to help improve users' access to the Bebo social network. The integrated toolkit allows mobile software developers, operators, and handset manufacturers to develop tailored versions of the Bebo mobile site, provide customized site navigation capabilities, offer feature- rich two-way messaging, and create other innovative applications that can be used by their users when visiting the Bebo community. This open development program should allow those interested in expanding their mobile product offerings and tapping the social networking market to tailor their implementations and improve Bebo social network users' experiences through mobile devices.
As mobile Web browser technology has improved, so too has consumer access to mobile content services, including social networking communities. In an effort to capture market share of the rapidly increasing volumes of traffic to social networks, some of the most visited social networks (including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and others) have established direct "on-deck" partnerships with major mobile operators, and continue to work directly with handset manufacturers to improve access to social network for an array of mobile phones.
While a number of social networks have adopted the use of open development platforms for their web-based communities (such as MySpace through its "OpenSocial" initiative, and Facebook through its "Facebook Platform"), the launch of Bebo Open Mobile represents a strategic move to help Bebo keep pace with the rapid growth and adoption of mobile social networking, and illustrates the continued industry trend towards the adoption of open technology standards.