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Apple iPhone users have a new way to poke and message their friends on-the-go, as Facebook has updated its mobile application.
Facebook 3.0 for the iPhone is available for download now from Apple's App Store, and it has a retooled user interface that is similar to the iPhone's home screen. Mobile Facebook users can now text or call friends from the app, and there's a built-in Web browser so users don't have to exit to the mobile Safari browser to view a friend's links.
The latest version of Facebook for Apple's mobile platform also adds support for events, and it enables users to create and delete photo albums, and control photo tagging. Users with the iPhone 3GS can also upload videos on the go.
The updated app is part of Facebook's larger strategy to have a stronger presence on mobile phones. It also distributes apps for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and other phones. The company is reportedly looking to have deeper integration with Nokia phones, and an official Android app is expected soon.
The mobile segment is important for the social network because about 70% of the more than 250 million Facebook users are outside the United States, and these users may be accessing the site solely through a cell phone. The company has recently started testing out a mobile payment system to cater to this market.
Rival social networks are also taking aim at cell phones and smartphones, and MySpace predicts half of its users will be accessing the site through a phone in about five years. There are also multiple mobile-focused social networks such as Loopt and Brightkite that are trying to attract an audience by emphasizing location-based services.
Facebook and other social networks can be time wasters, but they also have the potential to be useful tools for enterprise collaboration. InformationWeek wrote a report on this issue, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).