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Facebook's Recently Used Apps Module & The Larger Relationship with App Ecosystem

Last week I wrote about Facebook's newsfeed clustering of posts published by the same applications. While it is interesting as a signal of the newsfeed's evolution - it is represents the larger theme of Facebook relationship, promotion, and integration of applications (and the larger application ecosystem). Obviously Facebook has always been supportive of the ecosystem - from Zynga & LOLapps (gaming) to Spotify & Pinterest (content) to Wantful & ShoeDazzle (off-Facebook commerce), etc. In fact, yesterday's news was that "visitors from Facebook accounted for 1.1 billion visits to iOS and HTML5 apps, meaning an average of more than 6 visits per user."

The emergence of Facebook's Timeline, Open Graph and the proliferation of applications atop the platform (mobile, newsfeed, ticker, etc) - Facebook relationship with applications is evolving:

- How do they cluster by type and by shared users? (example here)

- How do they cluster by recency (example below with "Recent Used Apps")

- How do they cluster by popularity (example of trending here)

- How do they prevent the Ticker and newsfeed from being overwhelmed by content? (more here)

- What role does Timeline and off-Facebook play here?

- And ultimately, what does this mean for Facebook's strategy: promotion, monetization, mobile, etc?

Google Mobile Weather Demonstrates HTML5 Power

Search for "weather 94025" on your mobile phone. What Google has done is very impressive. First, the search result is overtaken with a weather forecast (similar to other 'smart search' categories like sports scores, news, etc). Second, Google has used HTML5 to effectively create a lightweight application within the browser. As you shift the slider, the weather, temperature and skyline color change according to to the time. The interaction is fluid and occurs instantly.

Obviously Google has also done terrific mobile work on their apps suite (ie GMail, Calendar, Docs, etc). And they are motivated to make the mobile web components work rather than core applications... which would have to work work cross-platform / device.

YouTube's HTML5 Mobile Site Aims to Drive 'Home Screen' Adoption

Last week YouTube Mobile adopted HTML5... it wasn't long ago that Apple touted YouTube as the iPhone's original launch partner (via a native application). Their adoption of HTML5 is yet another indication that it is fast becoming a standard for web experience and portability. This alone is newsworthy... but I wanted to quickly showcase YouTube's example of their 'pop-up' unit: - it appears immediately on load of a YouTube page - it is big, bold and interferes with the video's viewability... and is therefore noticeable - it directs users to add an icon to their iPhone's homescreen... which is an effective way to convert a pageview to an iPhone icon - it is part of an emerging trend to point directly (both visually and through language) to actionable items

Sprout Enables HTML5 & Flash Ads - Simultaneously

After last week's Apple announcement, I declared HTML5 as one of the winners. Generally, I believe that mobile represents a significant change in our web usage / consumption... and HTML5 plays an increasingly important role in that experience. This certainly is true for publishers...

... and increasingly true for advertisers - who have to create units that intelligently work in different formats, locations, etc. Sprout's now allows simple creation of rich-ad units that work in both HTML5 and Flash.

The motto: 'Build once. Publish anywhere.'

Below is a demo of Sprout's 'Engage Ads' platform - showcasing the units in both HTML5 and Flash.

View more on TechCrunch: "Sprout Now Lets You Simultaneously Build Rich Ads In Both HTML5 And Flash"