Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Facebook IOS Safari Security The Internet Apple

Facebook Taking On Apple? 127

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the there-can-be-only-five-or-six dept.
oDDmON oUT writes "Techcrunch has a piece about Facebook's Project Spartan, which aims to deliver app store functionality through the use of HTML5 in the iOS Safari browser. Given Facebook's shifting sands privacy stances, as well as their track record with their "trusted partners", I don't think I'd be alone in wondering if this wouldn't put a great big stake in the heart of the assertion that iOS is the most secure operating system in existence today."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Facebook Taking On Apple?

Comments Filter:
  • I can hear the sound of Jeff Bezos calling Mark Zucherberg now.
    • Or not? I would love to see Steve Jobs rip Facebook a new one! ;)
      • by wisty (1335733)

        Already done. The new iPhone is getting lots of sharing functionality. Some of it may be Facebook powered, for now. But Apple can go to Twitter, Flickr, or iCloud. And Steve Jobs has a reputation for being just a little paranoid and vindictive.

        I respect Facebook. They have done wonderful things with about 300 engineers. But I'm not sure they can go toe to toe with a giant like Apple.

        • by tyrione (134248)

          Already done. The new iPhone is getting lots of sharing functionality. Some of it may be Facebook powered, for now. But Apple can go to Twitter, Flickr, or iCloud. And Steve Jobs has a reputation for being just a little paranoid and vindictive.

          I respect Facebook. They have done wonderful things with about 300 engineers. But I'm not sure they can go toe to toe with a giant like Apple.

          With 300 Engineers they gave us a Facebook which isn't much functionality. NeXT gave us NeXTStation, NeXTCube, NeXTStep/Openstep User/Developer, EOF, WeObjects, Openstep for Windows, PDO/D'OLE, and much more with less Engineers. A glorified Social Networking Project is respected only due to the massive amounts of people once using AOL switching to Facebook. That's not impressive. People go where the free food is found. Costco has a lot of freeloaders eating up all the samples. Should I be impressed?

    • Actually I think that Facebook is shooting for something completely different than the Amazon market. Amazon is trying to bring competition to the app-space where Facebook is attempting to subvert everything that's done on the phone. Amazon want to sell apps that will run on your phone. Facebook wants to give you apps that run inside of the Facebook app. Facebook wants to be to the iPhone sort of what ChromeOS is to the netbook. You turn on your phone, open up the Facebook shell and then run all your a
  • what does a rumored product have to do with being secure "today"?

    • FTA:

      Itâ(TM)s entirely HTML5-based and the aim is to reach some 100 million users in a key place: mobile. More specifically, the initial target is both surprising and awesome: mobile Safari.

      I have a hard time taking seriously, the thoughts of a person who is surprised someone targeting the mobile market is targeting mobile Safari.

    • Re:I don't follow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:37AM (#36463682) Homepage

      what does a rumored product have to do with being secure "today"?

      I think the reasoning goes something like ... since we don't trust Facebook not to be dickheads, allowing them to install software on your device likely wouldn't be very secure since they might "decide" that you actually did opt-in for something you've never heard of.

      Facebook does have a bit of a history of deciding that their partners should have access to your data, because it's beneficial for them. Or changing the defaults of things to be permissive because that's what they want.

      Facebook, from what I've read, might not be perceived as a company one would actually want to put that much trust in. They'll hand over all of your details to Zynga in a heartbeat if it makes them a few bucks.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Zuckerberg actually personally HATES anyone that does not have all their privacy settings set to "EVERYONE"

        From what I hear he has a weekly hate session on Mondays with the rest of management.

      • Except these "apps" would just be web pages in a browser. No more or less secure then browsing a website today.

        As for privacy it's identical to what people plug into Facebook today.

        There's nothing new or surprising here.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          As for privacy it's identical to what people plug into Facebook today.

          There's nothing new or surprising here.

          If it's truly just a web page, maybe.

          If it's got access to your phone book and other things you haven't given to Facebook ... well, then I wouldn't trust them. (Well, I don't trust Facebook now -- certainly not with real information about me.)

          • by dwightk (415372)

            If it's got access to your phone book and other things you haven't given to Facebook

            why would you assume that?

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              why would you assume that?

              I didn't assume anything ... I said "if", as in the purely speculative "if". It's a hypothetical statement, bounded by what, exactly, they're installing -- which, I obviously don't know.

              For security issues, my default stance is trust nobody. I already don't trust Facebook, and the article is them talking about putting their own 'apps' onto an iOS device. So, depending on what it is that they're installing, and what it has access to ... it would be possible, in a purely hypotheti

      • by dwightk (415372)

        HTML5 via safari isn't "allowing them to install software on your device"

  • Good! Please do keep everyone in check. I don't like either of your companies, but at least strive to keep each other (relatively) honest.
    • Re:Competition! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:02AM (#36463174)
      In the end, everyone will lose. Facebook will try to get as much data about iPhone users as possible; Apple will try to prevent Facebook from getting this data, and lock down iOS more and more. At the end of the day, iOS users will wind up with both less privacy and less freedom than ever before.
      • Well what about when Facebook makes a phone! :(
      • Less freedom to have rogue apps snatch your data?

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        Thank god Android won't ever have that problem. ;-)

      • by node 3 (115640)

        In the end, everyone will lose. Facebook will try to get as much data about iPhone users as possible; Apple will try to prevent Facebook from getting this data, and lock down iOS more and more. At the end of the day, iOS users will wind up with both less privacy and less freedom than ever before.

        And before you know it, we are all slaves in prison camps, forced to build weapons and fight for whichever side has captured us, be it Apple or Facebook!!!

        What sort of lockdown will Apple have to do here? If Facebook starts stealing user data, Apple will just block the app. If Facebook decides to make a bunch of web apps, then Apple will... do nothing. Web apps are one of the reasons Apple made mobile Safari in the first place. If Facebook finds a way to violate user privacy through mobile Safari, Apple wil

      • by Xtifr (1323)

        In the end, everyone will lose.

        "Everyone"? What about the people who don't use FB or iPhone? Frankly, while I trust Apple 1k x more than FB, neither company is exactly known for being an advocate of either privacy or freedom. Frankly, any iOS users who would be surprised to end up with less privacy and less freedom were probably not all that smart to begin with (though they would have my sympathy, especially if FB turns this into a serious mess sooner than might otherwise be expected).

  • by darkeye (199616) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:01AM (#36463152) Homepage

    how is creating a web site for a particular browser considered as 'taking over' that particular browser?

    and how is this related to the security of any OS?

    (and how would iOS be a most secure OS among all OSs around? like, seriously? and how would this statement be relevant anyway?)

    • Can't argue with the first two questions, but the third is simple: whitelisting. Every discussion of security I've seen lately says something like "whitelist good, blacklist bad". Apple provides that whitelist. They aren't perfect, but they seem to be doing a pretty good job of keeping malware out of the App Store.

      Almost all malware these days has to be installed by the user, typically by deception or social engineering. No OS can allow installation of arbitrary software and keep out malware. There

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        Sure, except for the various browser exploits that allow you to jailbreak the OS specifically because all processes run as the root user.

        That is the problem with living in a walled garden. Everyone assumes everything is prestine. Until someone digs a hole under the wall, and all hell breaks loose.

        Compare this to an OS like Android, designed with this kind of thing in mind, where applications have specific permissions they must request, to the user, at install time in order to do anything.

    • Taking Over:
      A LOT of iWhatever apps (and Android apps for that matter) are simply portals to html5+javascript apps. If facebook (or any other game site not still obsessed with flash) decides to start letting people play free (or cheap) games directly through safari, you can bet your butt it will at lest create a huge dent in the apple store. I'm still convinced that one of the main reasons Steve Jobs kept flash off the iPod and iPhone was so that people would pay for small mini-games through the app store
  • Story link is wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scareduck (177470) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:01AM (#36463154) Homepage Journal
    The correct story link is here [techcrunch.com].

    This is one of a series of "Facebook-taking-on-X" trial balloons, where X is a well-known, highly-capitalized company with a real business model. The last wave had X = Google, which made no sense at all because Google's search rocks, while Facebook can barely tie its shoes with its own search (try searching comments on your own Wall if you don't believe me).

    The legions of Cloud fanboys will be all over this, because Facebook can't really create apps in the same way that the iTunes store can, so of course it means transient operation. (Ignore slow download times and bad performance because everything has to run on a scripting engine.) Techcrunch isn't much on actual analysis, but they sure do a great job as a press release outlet.

  • Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DavidR1991 (1047748) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:02AM (#36463164) Homepage

    I read the article, but I don't really understand why this is 'taking on Apple'. Yeah, it's trying to undermine the app store via Facebook apps, but if that were a huge tactic against Apple, surely it would be working already? (Surely Facebook is accessible and usable with apps as-is without this 'Project Spartan'? In which case if HTML5 apps via Facebook were what people wanted, surely they would already have a big stake in the iOS audience?)

    • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bennomatic (691188) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:32AM (#36463614) Homepage
      I'm totally with you. Remember when the iPhone launched and met with groans because the app development environment was HTML5 and that was it? No native SDK? What Facebook is apparently doing is doing is following guidelines that everyone else rejected four years ago. Funny thing is that Windows 7 Phone is doing the same thing. And I think WebOS isn't far off. I'm constantly amazed at how some people can see anything as bad news for Apple.
      • You're comparing apples and oranges. the original "apps" for iOS were just supposed to be HTML5 websites. WebOS uses html, css and javascript as part of the native apps that run on the device, and you can also write WebOS apps in C or C++ (through this wasn't true for the first six months the device was out). I don't know about Windows Phone 7, but im pretty sure that those apps are on the phone, not just special websites.
        • With HTML5 local storage, you can download and store the HTML, CSS, Javascript, images and other associated files, and they run "like an app" on the iOS device. That's always been the case. I didn't know that WebOS also supported C/C++ frameworks; thanks for the info. But WRT WP7, even if they're on the phone itself, they've got to have been downloaded from somewhere, most likely over HTTP, so unless they have some other native component, local storage doesn't differentiate them at all from iOS web-apps.
    • The main purpose I would think is that FaceBook relies less on the SDKs for these platforms. First it's mobile Safari, next it's Android and WP7. This distribution has advantage of speed as FB can deploy without users having to wait to download the latest version. The second advantage is that these FB games and apps don't need the platform SDKs either but rely on FB.
  • Security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poor_boi (548340) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:02AM (#36463170)
    Maybe I'm daft, but what does Facebook making an App Store have to do with the security of iOS?
    • by alvinrod (889928)
      Nothing. It's Techcrunh. They just grab slips of paper out of a giant bag and arrange them to make a story. I'd read the article to actually see if it has any semblance of thought put into it, but I'd prefer not to give them ad impressions.
    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      It doesn't. Facebook is hosting webapps designed for mobile, and the 80+ devs making the platform and initial apps are making sure they work with mobile safari.

      Sensationalist bullshit, as usual. Nobody is attacking anyone, nobody is afraid that facebook is going to kill the app store, and it's very unlikely that apple would go out of their way to block Facebooks website inside the browser. It'd be pretty detrimental to their sales, not help.
  • What a leap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bbeagle (2262032) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:05AM (#36463224)
    The real story: Facebook is developing web pages (using HTML 5) that will work inside the Safari browser on iOS devices. Just like on a PC/Mac desktop, the 'new' web pages will allow the using of Facebook apps (like farmville) inside iOS. Ok, I guess you can spin it either way: (a) Facebook improving itself to work the same on iOS as on desktops. (TRUE) (b) Facebook will have 'apps' working on the phone without being downloaded by the app store. (HALF TRUE - only apps that can be run within a browser within the HTML 5 specs, with the shortcomings of 3G data speeds and limited bandwidth, and can't use features of the phone not available through the browser like the camera).
    • by yarnosh (2055818)
      I imagine they'd still need a specialized implementation for mobile devices. Or at least they should. Mobile apps work differently, whether inside a browser or not.. You just can't get the same information with the same placement on a phone that you can on a desktop browser. What they're saving is developer time and not forcing Facebook developers to know iOS programming. They're also getting tighter control over app distribution and data storage. I, personally, think they might be handicapping themselves b
  • A couple of the bullet point reasons in the article on why iOs is more secure:

    -- patches can be rolled out quickly

    -- iOs isn't as big a target as other OS's

    Idiocy. Don't cite this cretinous article.

    I can hook up a locked iPhone to a PC with DiskAid and suck the contacts, photos, and everything else of importance out without knowing the key.

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Although I don't agree with that article and it's points, I think most people are not worried about what kind of cracking can be done if their phones fall in the wrong hands, but instead of what kind of security can protect them while their phone is in their pockets.

      How likely is a virus to get into a phone by downloading apps into it? How likely is a rouge app to steal all the data in the phone and send it somewhere else? How likely is, let's say, Facebook, to get software into my phone without my willin

  • by SpiceWare (3438) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:05AM (#36463232)
    as it supports Apple's goal of HTML5 over Flash.
    • Apple's goal is to make as much money on iOS as possible, everything else is done to further than goal. Apple really wants iOS native applications to be dominant over HTML5, since that makes them more money.
      • by dingen (958134)
        Do you have a source for this? Like for example any statement from Apple in which they favor native apps over web apps? Or is this just your personal view on the situation?
        • by gl4ss (559668)
          native apps take less memory and use less battery. apple controls(tries to anyways) which native apps are let to run and that is a political choice. favoring web apps over native apps is foolish, but web apps have to run in order for it to have a web browser(it wouldn't be a web browser otherwise). it's only natural that facebook would want apps running through them to work on iOS safari too, they should want their apps to work on all major and minor platforms as well as possible, anything else would be foo
      • They make the great majority of their money on hardware. So the question is, will Facebook's HTML5-based apps take away from hardware sales? If they're going to be focused on making those apps for mobile Safari, there won't be any of that, "It runs great on my X device, but sucks on Apple hardware" thing, so probably not.

        The thing that I think that the FB folks will find is that if they create the same thing twice--once as a native iOS app and once as a HTML5 app that comes out of their own store--and
      • I agree with this in general.
        For anyone with an iphone, the new HTML5 version of the FT.com (financial times) app is very very good. It is better than the old iphone app, and I imagine they can use the HTML5 version across iOS/Android/Blackberry.
        • by tyrione (134248)

          I agree with this in general. For anyone with an iphone, the new HTML5 version of the FT.com (financial times) app is very very good. It is better than the old iphone app, and I imagine they can use the HTML5 version across iOS/Android/Blackberry.

          If it's better it's not because HTML5 and Javascript offer better solutions. That was a conscious choice by FT and no one truly gives a crap.

      • by toriver (11308)

        Except they initially only wanted developers to make HTML+Javascript apps and only released a native SDK after developers demanded they do so.

        Apple make money off the hardware, the 30% cut from the iOS apps that actually cost money (remember: there is no requirement for an iOS app to cost anything) just covers the costs of running the store.

        • Except they initially only wanted developers to make HTML+Javascript apps and only released a native SDK after developers demanded they do so.

          There is no way that the SDK was released as a capitulation to developers. The iOS SDK was released 8 months after the iPhone. If you have done any iOS development or otherwise taken a look at it, you would know that it is impossible to build such an SDK and supporting materials in such a short period of time. The SDK and App Store were clearly in the works when they initially released the iPhone. Perhaps they were behind schedule, or perhaps there was another reason for staggering their releases.

          • by Tharsman (1364603)

            Off course they had an SDK from the start. They had it before the iPhone came out. It was used internally by Apple to develop their own software, and by jailbreakers to develop their own homebrew stuff.

            I do have to note, though: If you have done any iOS development and OS X you would see there is a big enough overlap.

            That is no evidence that Apple wanted to release it, though. Apple did indeed force developers to do their stuff in HTML+Javascript, but I think the reason they released the SDK and started

            • I am certainly not trying to say that the operating system had no api prior to the release of the sdk, and I am certainly not trying to indicate that my opinion is rooted in facts.

              I have done very limited os x development, but it is enough for me to see the overlap, as well as the mysterious divergences, in the two apis. You are right that there is no direct evidence that a public api and app store were in the pipeline. I just don't think it is possible to turn an internal api into a public api with all

      • by Tharsman (1364603)
        If this was true, they would forbid you from distributing free apps through the App Store.
    • by biglig2 (89374)

      I doubt Apple has a problem with this because...er... they have explicitly said in the past that they see iOS devices as having two application frameworks available.
      There's the native apps in the curated App Store, and there's HTML 5 apps accessed thru Safari. This is their answer to "I want to make an uncurated iPhone app" - make a web app.

      Most dev's don't got the web app route, because it's easier to make money with a native App, but some do - often where they can't get something into the store, like Goog

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        I'm glad they're doing it. I wish more would do it too. I've been using a 3GS for a year now. I find that while the Apps have superior performance over a cell connection, that's about it. Most apps are so poorly designed, so buggy, and lack so many features, there's just no point. At least with a mobile web site things follow mostly standard web browsing methodologies and don't crash left and right. And honestly, I'm at the point where I don't even use mobile sites anymore. It may be a PITA to view the enti

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Not to mention that Apple has been putting a ton of stuff into HTML5 like location awareness (Safari will ask for GPS access permissions), as well as getting APIs so web apps can get access to accellerometer and gyro data, maybe even the camera.

        If Apple didn't want people doing webapps, they would've removed the functionality of adding web sites to the home screen, and not bothered with supporting GPS and sensor data access. Heck, one of the main complaints in iOS 4 is that webapps run faster under Safari t

    • by dingen (958134)
      And the goal in iOS was to support HTML5/Javascript/CSS web apps alongside native apps all along. In fact, before the App Store was launched, web apps were the only applications you could run on an iPhone. It's really ridiculous to suggest anyone would be "taking on Apple" by creating an application exactly the way Apple says one should create applications for iOS. Like it's some sort of loophole or something that Apple offers the ability to create web apps for iOS.
  • by MasterOfUniverse (812371) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:06AM (#36463246)
    How will facebook installing webapps on ios (or any os) will be a stake in the heart of iOS being secure??? if there is a security problem in safari, that would be a security issue in itself. And also there is already such service available (openAppMkt)
  • I don't understand how this news has anything to do with challenging the purported security of iOS. The article is suggesting that Facebook simply wants more control over the apps and data. There's no indication that they think iOS is insecure. BUt hey, if they think they can get adequate performance (for games) out of HTML5, more power to them.
  • I don't think I'd be alone in wondering if this wouldn't put a great big stake in the heart of the assertion that iOS is the most secure operating system in existence today.

    Why? Can you access photos or the phone's contact list from HTML5?

    • I don't think I'd be alone in wondering if this wouldn't put a great big stake in the heart of the assertion that iOS is the most secure operating system in existence today.

      Yes, you would.

      Techcrunch idiots.

  • in the heart of the assertion that iOS is the most secure operating system in existence today.

    In compared to what ? .. Windows ? Just about anything is "more secure than Windows". On top of that "in the heart of assertion my gentoo box is more secure than either one of those" -Just sayin.

    Anyways only good news of this is, is enough companies start backing html5 hopefully make that bug ridden flash go away which in turn, would be a benefit for everyone.

    • That was my thought. I've been wanting to get back into web site design as a hobby now that HTML5 is taking hold, and found that very site as I was looking how to make a site optimized for an iPad or other tablet.

      Before Apple released the first tools to create iOS applications, Jobs specifically told developers to make web based applications. This was back with iPhone 1.0. I'm not aware he ever reversed that stance.

      I recall a lot of whining on Slashdot. ;-) Well, I suppose that's true for any story. :-D

    • by coopaq (601975)

      Um...

      "(Last updated: 2009-02-17)"

  • Apple has kept their "cool" factor. Facebook is quickly loosing it. Just think of the difference:
    Person A uses facebook for 2 hours a day.
    Person B uses their apple product for 2 hours a day.

    Which person would you rather hang out with?

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      Which person would you rather hang out with?

      Person C, who doesn't care whether they are perceived as being "cool"

    • by MogNuts (97512)

      Neither. Actually I'd choose the FB guy. He's the lesser of two evils. It just seems that anytime I meet/see a guy in real life who uses a iPhone he's a d-bag. Actually almost always.

      Women it doesn't seem to be the case. I think they like it just because it looks "cute."

      I'd take the FB'er over the D-bag anyday.

    • do you actually think this is any kind of relevant question ? not to mention valid ? Are you the type of person who does things because of what they think people will think of them for doing them ?

      • by odin84gk (1162545)

        Valid question.

        I'm simply pointing out that people who hang out on facebook for extended periods of time are perceived as creepers. I would certainly rather be associated with Apple products than Facebook products. Since the main appeal of Apple seems to be the "cool" factor, there is no way that Facebook can win against Apple.

  • ...is that the vast majority of them are written for flash. It remains to be seen if an iOS store will get developers to redo them all.

    • by toriver (11308)

      Well, Zynga already have native iOS versions of FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Zynga Poker and probably others...

  • Apple: "Flash sucks. Apps are superior. Make it HTML5 if you got a problem."

    Facebook: "We've just released a superior HTML5 version."

    FB gets ad revenue and has games with corresponding revenue in HTML5 version and Apple gets no cut

    Apple: "HTML5 sucks. Apps are superior."

    Fanboys: "HTML sucks now! Apps are superior!"

    Lather, rinse, repeat. How much you wanna bet this happens within a year or two?

    • by toriver (11308)

      "superior HTML version" of WHAT, exactly? The "Facebook apps" that are just HTML already work in Safari on iOS, the others employ Flash in addition - is FaceBook going to finance a conversion effort for those? It looks more like a competitor to Google's Chrome web store.

    • The Facebook app in the app store is free, and has no in-app purchases. Apple receives no cut now. In fact, Apple is subsidising the hosting of the Facebook app on their App Store. I'm sure they wouldn't be too distraught if Facebook decided to host an HTML5 version themselves.

      And to be fair, nothing you've said is contradictory. Native apps > HTML5 > Flash.

  • with pretty good software. Internet companies like Facebook and Google have to run their software on something . Google continues to dabble in hardware, but has never been successful.
  • To us geeks, we often arrogantly think secure means that the weakest link in the security chain is the device we have, but that we geeks would never in a million years give out sensitive information to a computer program we don't trust. Real security to the lay people includes protecting us from ourselves. Humans are the weakest link and malicious people exploit that all the time. We think "well that person is just dumb, they need to become more educated." Really? So that surgeon who just saved your li

  • That article that claimed iOS was the most secure was pretty much ripped to shreds when it was posted here. So don't go around quoting it as fact.

  • Explain to me again how Facebook creating a site that will encourage more people to write additional software for Apple's platform is "taking on" Apple?

    Giving people a stronger reason to use Apple's products is only going to help them sell more iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches... and anybody who's even glanced at Apple's earnings statements in the past 5 years knows that the vast majority of their revenues (and profits) come from hardware sales.

    So, Apple gets more hardware sales - their high margin, high pr

  • I wouldn't exactly call a system which can be rooted by simply accessing a website "secure".

    Now add a shitload of Facebook users to the mix who will open any URL which pops up on their message wall and you simply have yet another promising attack vector.

  • The actual article is more along the lines of "We're going to port all our crappy but popular apps like Farmville from Flash to JavaScript to get onto the iPhone."

    • by toriver (11308)

      FarmVille is already in the native iOS app store. You need a different example.

  • Its the apps that are not. ( not that the average Joe would understand tho ) But this is an interesting way to submarine your competition.. write bad apps and blame them..

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

Working...