Facebook today announced the App Center. Whether you're a Facebook user or a third-party developer, think of it like the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, but for Facebook. That's right: while in-app purchases have existed for a while, Facebook will now give developers the option to offer paid apps (users will pay a flat fee to use an app on facebook.com), in addition to all the free ones.
The App Center has only been introduced today, but it will only launch sometime in the coming weeks. You will be able to access it on the Web as well as in the native Android and iOS Facebook apps. As you can see in the screenshot above, the URL will be facebook.com/appcenter, which right now takes you to a "The page you requested was not found" error page.
Here are the App Center features Facebook is already trying to underline for you, the developer:
- A place to find great apps: For the over 900 million people that use Facebook, the App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps. Everything has an app detail page, which helps people see what makes an app unique and lets them install it before going to an app.
- Growth for high-quality apps: Success through the App Center is tied to the quality of an app. Facebook will use a variety of signals, such as user ratings and engagement, to determine if an app is listed in the App Center. To help you monitor user feedback, Facebook is also introducing a new app ratings metric in Insights to report how users rate your app over time. Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed, while apps that receive poor user ratings or don't meet the quality guidelines won't be listed.
- Driving mobile installs: The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they're on Android, iOS, or the mobile Web. From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play. To grow your mobile app through the App Center, your app needs to use Facebook Login.
Facebook wants to get all third-party developers (canvas, mobile, and Web apps) on board, so that the App Center can be filled when it launches (the date for which is of course unknown). If you're interested in getting started, check out these two pages on Facebook Developers: App Center Guidelines and App Center Tutorial. If you're interested in paid apps, sign up for the beta here: Paid Apps Sign Up.
All developers should create an app detail page, which is required for being listed in the App Center. This page will also become the new destination for when non-users search for your app on Facebook. You can create an app detail page in the App Center section of the Developer App. There you can upload images, provide additional details, and configure the permissions your app requires. App detail pages that are eligible for the App Center will be reviewed prior to being listed. Priority will be given to those apps that submit before May 18 (I doubt it's a coincidence that this is the day Facebook is rumored to go public).
"The App Center gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We are excited to give developers a new way to grow their apps with the App Center. Get ready for the upcoming user launch by creating your app detail page today."
- Facebook sent 160 million users to Android, iOS apps in April
- Facebook Platform goes mobile, starting with Apple iOS
- Facebook Platform on Mobile comes to Android
- Facebook has over 901 million users, over 488 million mobile users
- The Facebook effect: Timeline app developers rule the App Store
- Facebook: "We're going to become a mobile company"