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.
With the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Spotify" target="_hplink">Spotify</a> timeline app, music fans can add music to their timeline as they listen, and discover new songs from friends along the way.
Are you crazy about pinning? Bring your pins, repins and boards to your timeline. Since launching their timeline app, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pinterest" target="_hplink">Pinterest</a> saw the number of people visiting the site from Facebook increase by more than 60 percent. To get started, go to Pinterest.com, sign in with Facebook, and add Pinterest to your timeline.
With the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Foodspotting" target="_hplink">Foodspotting</a> timeline app, foodies can snap photos of the food they spot, love, try, and want. Since launching its timeline app in January, Foodspotting has multiplied its monthly active user base by two.
People can now add their <a href="https://www.facebook.com/foursquare" target="_hplink">Foursquare</a> check-ins to their timelines and maps, share their badges and see the top places they've checked into.
Login to Vevo.com with Facebook, or the Vevo mobile app, to get music video recommendations and add the videos you watch to your timeline. Since launching their timeline app, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/VEVO" target="_hplink">VEVO</a> has seen a 45 percent increase in traffic from Facebook's mobile app to their own, compared to just a few months ago.
If your favorite bands have a Band Page on Facebook (and they probably do, as more than half a million musicians have one), you can mark your favorite songs, as well as the concerts you plan on attending and would like to attend, to fill out the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/rootmusic" target="_hplink">RootMusic</a> app on your timeline.
Bring the book club to your timeline. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Goodreads" target="_hplink">Goodreads</a> gives you an easy way to add the books you're reading, or want to read, to your timeline, and discover what friends are reading as well. Over time, the Goodreads app will surface the number of books you've read in a certain period of time and your top authors. Since launching the timeline app, Goodreads has grown its audience by 90 percent.
<a href="http://viddy.com/" target="_hplink">Viddy</a>, the mobile app for creating quick videos and adding filters, now lets people add clips to their timelines as they shoot. Now when people film videos from a vacation or everyday life, they can share them to Facebook and collect their clips on the Viddy timeline app. Since launching their timeline app just a few weeks ago, Viddy went from 100,000 monthly uniques to more than 790,000. They are averaging 50,000 sign-ups per day and are among the most popular apps in the Apple App Store.
DJs, wannabe DJs and music lovers can add the songs they've "awesome'd" directly to their timeline with the <a href="http://turntable.fm/" target="_hplink">Turntable</a> app.
If you love shopping, you can bring <a href="https://www.facebook.com/fab.com" target="_hplink">Fab.com</a> to your timeline to share your favorite purchases. Fifty percent of Fab's visits come from Facebook.
Need more encouragement to finish that run, or looking for more routes to hike? Turn your phone into your personal trainer. The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/endomondo" target="_hplink">Endomondo</a> app on your phone to track your workouts, and lets you login with Facebook to add your activity to your timeline.
With <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/" target="_hplink">TripAdvsior</a>, travelers can build out a map of the places they've been and want to go and pin cities along the way to their timeline. Over time, they can see data on their travels, such as the percentage of the world seen, and total distance traveled.
For the fashionistas out there, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/connect/uiserver.php?app_id=164118886949520&method=permissions.request&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fpose-app%2F?ref%3Dts&response_type=none&display=page&perms=offline_access%2Cemail%2Cpublish_stream%2Cpublish_actions%2Cuser_photos&auth_referral=1" target="_hplink">Pose</a> makes it possible to bring your favorite outfits (whether you're wearing them or not) to your timeline. Since launching the timeline app, Pose has seen daily sign-ups increase by five times. Celebs like Rachel Zoe are <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150644319103553&set=a.10150509371338553.372053.19292868552&type=3&theater" target="_hplink">adding their outfits to timeline</a> with the app.
Last month the e-commerce site <a href="https://www.facebook.com/connect/uiserver.php?app_id=230486256138&method=permissions.request&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fsneakpeeq%2F?ref%3Dts&response_type=none&display=page&perms=email%2Cpublish_actions&auth_referral=1" target="_hplink">Sneakpeeq</a> raised $2.7 million for its simple yet innovative approach to making online shopping feel like it does in the real world. You can add Sneakpeeq to your timeline and share the artists, designers, products, and sales you discover with your friends.
Everyone's favorite satirical news source, <a href="http://www.theonion.com/" target="_hplink">The Onion</a>, recently launched a timeline app so people can add the funny stories they read (such as "Study Finds Newborn Infants Can Tell If Parents Are Losers") and the videos they watch, to their timeline.
The <a href="http://www.fandango.com/" target="_hplink">Fandango</a> app lets you add the movies you want to see to your timeline, as well as the clips you watch and movies you rate. Now that Fandango can be on your timeline, you have another way to express your love of "The Hunger Games."
The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/connect/uiserver.php?app_id=172689716102069&method=permissions.request&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fartfinder%2F?ref%3Dts&response_type=none&display=page&perms=email%2Cpublish_actions&auth_referral=1" target="_hplink">Artfinder</a> app lets you snap photos of artwork from your phone and begin curating your own masterpiece on your timeline. Since Artfinder launched a timeline app, people have spent 60 percent more time with the service.
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