Facebook is taking a giant leap toward making app discovery a more user friendly experience.
On Wedesnday, Facebook announced that it will open 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.
A post on the Facebook Developer Blog explained that users will be able to browse the App Center and explore app descriptions and ratings before downloading apps.
The center isn't 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? "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," according to Facebook's blog post. 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.
Take a look at what the App Center will look like on mobile devices (the post mentions iPhone and Android specifically), as well as on web browsers.
Image courtesy of the Facebook Developer Blog.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Facebook pointed out that the center isn't intended to be an App Store or Google Play competitor. "The App Center will send traffic to both the iOS and Android platforms," writes VentureBeat. "If, for example, you’re browsing Facebook’s App Center on your Android and you click a link for a plant/zombie game, you’ll be taken to that app’s Google Play page to install it."
AllThingsD lays out some of the advantages that the App Center might give Facebook. "It's [...] another potential revenue stream insofar as splitting the cash on paid apps and in-app purchases. And more app use, of course, means more engagement within the Facebook platform. That means more ads. And with the wealth of new data Facebook will receive by looking at the apps its subscribers are using, it also means better targeted ads."
Until the App Center opens to the general Facebooking public, here's a roundup of Timeline apps that Facebook recommends users check out.