Microsoft's answer to the Facebook Win8 app question: pin a shortcut
Microsoft Wednesday announced several new apps that have arrived or will arrive within the Windows Store, including the Vevo app for music videos and an updated version of Where’s My Water?
But if you’re still hoping for a Facebook app for Windows 8, keep waiting.
Really, ever since Windows 8 was released last October, many have wondered when Microsoft—or Facebook—would release an app supporting the over 1 billion users who use the Facebook service.
While many apps—such as Pandora, for example— still haven’t made the transition over to the Windows 8 platform, Facebook seems like a significant omission.
Facebook has been partially integrated into the People app within Windows 8, but from a content-consumption point of view, and without the flexibility to view streams of updates and photos that the Facebook’s site or various apps offer. For instance, Facebook Touch (shown above) is a knockoff app that provides a touch-centric, Windows 8 version of Facebook.
Microsoft's answer? The IE browser
Venturebeat went down the rabbit hole in October, as both Facebook and Microsoft ended up pointing fingers at the other over the issue of Windows 8 integration. That conflict seems to have been partially resolved—with an emphasis on partially—with Microsoft now encouraging users to pin the Facebook site to the Start screen, instead.
According to a source close to the company, Microsoft is relying upon Internet Explorer, the “best, fastest browser on any device.”
“With the ability to pin a site like Facebook and Pandora on IE10 directly to the Start screen, you have essentially created a FB ‘app,’ with access to everything Facebook has to offer,” the source said.
Facebook representatives did not respond to our questions by the time we posted this story.
Microsoft has made a concerted effort to make IE a touch-centric portal to the web by funding websites that perform as equivalents to apps, such as Contre Jour, optimized both for Internet Explorer as well as touch.
Versions of Etsy.com, for example, allow IE10 users to simply swipe right and left to move to new pages of content listings, proving more of an app-like experience. In this sense, Microsoft is right in dubbing Facebook.com, the website, an app that can be accessed via Internet Explorer.
Meanwhile, while Facebook has developed a “beta” app for Windows Phone 8, the two companies have generally maintained a hands-off relationship with one another, even though Microsoft has historically owned Facebook shares.
Facebook Win8 app coming?
Will we eventually see a Facebook app for Windows 8? Probably. And if one’s coming, a good indicator will be the “faux” Facebook apps being cleaned out. Today, apps like Facebook Touch provide a quasi-touch-centric interface that has been redesigned from the webpage.
But so far, the one big difference between an app like Facebook Touch and the webpage is ads. Facebook has been under fire to show revenue growth, so the service has been busy rolling out moneymaking opportunities from a revamped Gifts initiative to a ”Facebook Card” that can be used in traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Microsoft’s Windows 8 apps have been bright, clean, and relatively ad-free. That will need to change before a Facebook app appears on Windows 8.
Here’s a quick look at some of the new apps for Windows 8:
Vevo: This popular, free app for watching music videos arrives on Windows 8, with access to 75,000 HD music videos, original programming and live concerts from popular artists all over the world, Microsoft said. Users can view videos from the app’s home screen and search using the Search charm and other features.
Where’s My Mickey?: A new version of the Where’s My Water? series starring Disney characters, this physics puzzler will cost $4.99 in the Windows Store. Kids will get to solve the puzzles to find out how the episode ends. Three free episodes featuring Mickey will be included, with two episodes including Goofy available for an additional undisclosed cost.
Vyclone: “Vyclone is a unique social video service that brings together multiple views of a shared moment through videos that people co-create with friends,” according to Microsoft. “With the Vyclone app for Windows 8, you and your friends can effortlessly capture videos and bring them together for a single moment like a birthday, vacation or wedding.”
edjing: edjing is a social DJ’ing app, allowing users a wide variety of DJ’ing effects to apply to music that the user already owns. After editing them, users can share them with friends on Facebook and Twitter. The app will be available later this week.