It’s been a little more a month since Facebook launched App Center for Android, iOS and Web apps. The store is the latest example of how the rapidly growing selection of apps is making it increasingly difficult for people to discover ones that might interest them.
App Center tackles that problem by using social networking as an app curation tool. Instead of wading through hundreds of apps in a category and then reading dozens of reviews penned by strangers, App Center narrows the selection by letting users peruse their friends’ apps. Friends can also send game invitations to one another.
We recently spoke with Malorie Lucich, Facebook’s platform communications manager, about how App Center works and what it means for developers and users alike.
What motivated Facebook to create App Center? Did you see a void in the marketplace?
Malorie Lucich: As more types of social apps have launched -- such as food, fitness, travel and fashion apps -- we wanted to make it easier for people to find the best apps for them. The goal of the App Center is to make app discovery more social. By making it easier to find apps, more types of apps can grow. When you want to play a game, get restaurant recommendations or read movie reviews from friends, there’s now an easy way to do it.
App Center isn’t a traditional app store. What are the major differences that developers need to know about, and how do those differences benefit developers and users?
M.L.: For developers, the App Center helps high-quality apps grow by promoting those that people enjoy the most. It includes all types of social apps, including those built for Facebook.com, iOS, Android and the Web.
Facebook will continue to be an open platform where apps can launch at any time. However, in order for an app to be listed in the App Center, it must meet quality requirements and have an app detail page.
The App Center lists apps based on quality signals from users. Developers can see if their apps meet the requirements and view their status in the App Dashboard. More information is at Developers.Facebook.com.
For people on Facebook, the App Center provides personalized recommendations based on the apps you and your friends use, or you can browse by specific categories. The App Center is available on both Web and mobile platforms, making it easy to discover apps from wherever you are.
If a user is browsing the App Center from their computer, they can easily send a mobile app to their phone. Whenever a mobile app requires a download, users will be sent to the respective install page in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Besides enabling Facebook Login, what else do developers need to do to enter the App Center ecosystem? And what should they keep in mind to ensure that they, and their apps’ users, get the most out of App Center?
M.L.: The following apps are eligible for App Center:
- An app on Facebook.com in a canvas page
- A mobile app that uses single sign-on for iOS or single sign-on for Android
- A mobile Web app that uses Facebook login and has an immediately logged-in, personalized experience
- A website that uses Facebook login and has an immediately logged-in, personalized experience
Check out the App Center Guidelines for more details.
Are there any questions or misconceptions about App Center so far?
M.L.: One of the parts of the product we’re most excited about is that the App Center experience extends to mobile. The App Center will drive growth for social apps whether they’re built on iOS, Android, mobile Web or Facebook.
We’ve already been sending a lot of traffic to apps on iOS and Android. The App Center is simply another channel to do this, just like News Feed.
By Tim Kridel
Tim Kridel Tim Kridel has been covering all things tech and telecom since 1998 for a variety of publications and analyst firms. Based in Columbia, Mo., he still enjoys the childhood hobby that led to a career writing about technology: ham radio. He is a frequent contributor to Digital Innovation Gazette.