Facebook is letting users of its flourishing social-networking community play together on the road by using Apple’s popular iPhone and iPod Touch mobile devices.
Facebook senior platform manager Dave Morin revealed the news Saturday while flanked by an array of hip social software makers at a panel talk at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
“For the first time, your iPhone apps can now have friends,” Morin said before panelists demonstrated applications that expand the borders of Facebook’s online community onto iPhones and iPod Touch devices.
Facebook Connect for the iPhone debuted with nine applications available at Apple’s online iTunes store and a promise that more will launch in coming days.
Mini software programs tailored to mesh with the Facebook operating platform let social-networking service users play games with each other online, share restaurant reviews while on the move, and locate friends.
Facebook members can use the community-oriented applications through iPhones as they would if they were connecting through a home computer.
Facebook launched Connect last year as a way to break down the walls between the social networking service and other websites and services on the Internet.
Applications demonstrated to applause from a packed conference room at SXSW included a “Who has the Biggest Brain” game by Playfish and a new SGN “Agency Wars” game enabling users to play government spies.
“Agency Wars” lets people pretend to be members of agencies such as the CIA or MI6 and work as mobile teams on missions while becoming “the most deadly spy around.”
“Who has the Biggest Brain?” has been played by more than 15 million people since it launched on Facebook in 2007. The App Store now has a version that lets Facebook users train their brains while on the go.
“In addition to Facebook and other social utilities, we believe iPhone and iPod touch represent the next generation of entertainment platforms,” said Playfish chief executive Kristian Segerstrale.
Other Facebook-oriented applications premiering at the App Store include Urbanspoon restaurant review-sharing service and Flixster film recommendation website, along with games “iBowl,” “Live Poker,” and “Tap Tap Revenge 2.”
“Win or lose, you’ll have the option to publish a story back to Facebook, where all of your friends can see it,” said Facebook engineer Joe Hewitt.