I was a bit surprised when I first saw the screen above on the (great) new Facebook Camera app. That’s the initial screen you get when you first open the app. But how on Earth did the app know my name? I assumed, of course, it was related to the fact that I also had the main Facebook iOS app installed on my iPhone — but still, how did those two apps talk to one another as neither is system-level?
Here’s how. (And here’s Apple’s documentation on it.)
It’s a smart way to do it (though it may get a bit of backlash). And it will allow Facebook to continue to build separate apps for key features — perhaps an Events app next? — that are quick and easy to install and use. Now just imagine if this was baked into iOS itself so other apps could use it (just like the Twitter iOS integration, but actually even a little more seamless). It would save a lot of typing and/or a number of clicks for app switching (Single Sign On). In my mind, this “hack” shows why Facebook eventually needs to do their own mobile OS. Deep integration and seamless use are paramount in mobile.