Facebook is taking a giant leap toward making app discovery a more user friendly experience. The social network is launching an App center which will serve as a hub for the site's social apps but won't be a full-blown "store" in the vein of the iOS App Store or Google Play for Android.
The app center will give users a single, personalized hub for discovering the highest quality Facebook-integrated games and utilities from across the web and mobile.
And for the first time, Facebook is beta testing the option for developers to sell pre-paid web and HTML5 apps. One can access App Center via web or mobile and send apps you discover on the web to your devices.
The App Center will bring Facebook’s 900 million users all the best in iOS apps, Android apps, web apps, mobile web apps, and even desktop apps. The center is not yet open to users and won't be for several weeks. For now Facebook is just calling on developers to review guidelines and submit data to the hub so their apps can be featured. There will also be an option for developers to submit paid apps to the App Center.
What kind of apps can users expect once the center is complete? According to Facebook's blog post, "Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed. Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won't be listed". The post goes on to list a few popular apps users can expect to see featured: Draw Something, Pinterest, Spotify, Battle Pirates, Viddy, Bubble Witch Saga. Moreover, when you visit the Center, you'll be shown apps that are relevant to you -- like a News Feed for apps you might be interested in.
App developers are today being asked to go to Facebook and create an “app detail” page with descriptions and screenshots, just like they would do for Google Play or the iTunes App Store. Creating these pages is a requirement for being listed in the App Center.
Facebook tells us it is not competing directly with Apple or Google. The App Center will send traffic to both the iOS and Android platforms. It has also introduced paid apps on Facebook.com, Wednesday. Facebook apps such as Zynga games have been free up until this point.
April 22, 2013, 5:55 am UTC
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