I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I really like Facebook's decision to create multiple apps. We aren't good with thinking of apps as having multiple functionalities. Our thought process is more along the lines of "This app is for this, this app is for this, etc."
Having one app means a lot of features get lost in the app, and people turn to alternative apps (like Foursquare, Batch or WeChat) for functionality.
Edit: To put it another way, what if Google had one app and inside it was GMail, Search, Maps, etc? Facebook sees these as products, not features.
I disagree. I'm don't want to use FourSquare and Instagram and Twitter when Path can do it all in one place. It takes longer to open multiple apps when it comes to social things. I don't want to have to think: I want to share a picture, what is the best app for that? Or I want to share what music I'm listening to... Which app should I go to? I just think I want to catch up on what my friends are doing, or I want to share something I'm soon with my friends... And Path is the one stop solution to my needs.
I hope you're right. I think so too and I'm building a native check-in experience for Facebook as a side-project. It's almost ready to be launched, but I haven't managed to convince anyone I talked to that they needed a separate native app for check-ins. Lets see I guess.
> what if Google had one app and inside it was GMail, Search, Maps, etc?
Actually, Google does have an app like that. Search, Gmail, Calendar, Google+, etc - everything except for Maps. It's called Google Search, and is a shell of sorts for web versions of many of their apps, but you can also link the apps to it if you so desire.
what if Google had one app and inside it was GMail, Search, Maps, etc?
You'd find that weird, right? Because you are forcing a significant change of behavior. Similarly, facebook breaking their core functionalities into specific apps is a significant change in how we already think about an existing product. To access Facebook Messages on my desktop, I do not visit messages.facebook.com or FMail. To chat, I don't goto chat.facebook.com. If I did, these app break ups could perhaps make more sense.
I consider myself tainted data point because I am a huge user of facebook on both desktop and mobile(app, not browser). I probably do not use facebook in a similar manner as a mobile only facebook user. They seem to be betting the company on mobile-only facebook user. Even then, their present strategy makes little sense to me because even when I am on mobile, the app switch causes friction and makes me use WhatsApp instead of FB Chat app. Why? Because I know WhatsApp has more reliable chat; and if I must switch apps to chat, may as well switch to the better one.
While I do agree, the main counterpoint to this logic is that there is a danger of having users put all of the Facebook apps into one Facebook folder, thus hiding Facebook from your home screen. It's important to balance splitting major functionalities with filling people's phones with lots of Facebook icons.
Not at all scientific, but almost everybody I know uses an iPhone, and they all use the folders functionality, even the least tech savvy ones, mostly for hiding the unused Apple apps that can't be deleted. My guess would be this is very common behavior. Even if folders aren't used, users might move all the Facebook apps to be together on a secondary screen.
I think we can agree that most users won't fill their home screen with multiple Facebook apps. If they are moving the secondary FB apps somewhere else, be it a folder or another screen, there's a chance they might move the main FB app too.