By Shad Bookout
Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) looks to take yet another step forward in its dominance of the mobile usage market by making shopping from your mobile device not only quicker, but easier. The social media company is testing a new feature, Autofill, which uses payment data stored within Facebook to facilitate purchases from mobile shopping apps.
This creates a platform for Facebook to compete directly against Google's (Nasdaq:GOOG) Wallet payment service. However, Facebook contends that it is not attempting to become an online payment processor with Autofill; rather, it is providing a service.
"In the long run, Facebook can improve ad conversion by learning when certain users are more likely to buy. And that's on top of the wealth of social data it already has. This will put Facebook in even closer competition with the likes of Google ad dollars," Arkady Fridman, senior analyst at Aite Group, told Internet Retailer.
Autofill can store information for credit and debit cards as well as Facebook gift cards and even billing information.
Facebook is testing the feature with men's apparel retailer JackThreads.com's mobile shopping app and the Mosaic photo book app. Around 50 percent of JackThreads.com's web sales come from mobile devices and 90 percent of its mobile sales come through its apps, mostly the iPhone app, according to Internet Retailer.
Facebook is currently the most-used mobile app in the U.S. with 76.1 percent of mobile media users having downloaded the app as of July 2013.