Facebook gets serious about app quality

Facebook at its F8 developer powwow had a bevy of announcements that garnered interest, but among the most notable were its efforts to improve the quality of applications on the social networking site.First, the brief recap of Facebook's news (statement, Steve O'Hear's takeaways, Webware and Techmeme roundup):Facebook rolled out its Facebook Connect service, which is a competitor to OpenID.

Facebook at its F8 developer powwow had a bevy of announcements that garnered interest, but among the most notable were its efforts to improve the quality of applications on the social networking site.

First, the brief recap of Facebook's news (statement, Steve O'Hear's takeaways, Webware and Techmeme roundup):

  • Facebook rolled out its Facebook Connect service, which is a competitor to OpenID. Facebook Connect, the headliner for most folks, gives users authentication, real identity, privacy controls and distribution to share feeds with other sites.
  • The company expanded its international footprint;
  • And announced developer programs where it's clear that quality is rewarded.

It's that last item that may become the most important to users. How many apps on Facebook are absolutely useless? How many break? How many are a waste of time? How many aren't really social? There are more shaky apps on Facebook than there needs to be.

To remedy the current state of affairs Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right, credit Brian Solis) rolled out a "Great Apps" program where not all applications are created equal. According to Facebook:

Facebook’s Great Apps program rewards applications that deliver value to users and advance the Facebook Platform vision. Great Apps embody Facebook’s guiding principles for social applications through their meaningful, trustworthy and well-designed user experiences. Great Apps will gain greater visibility on Facebook, earlier access to new features and more feedback from Facebook. Facebook will open the Great Apps selection process to developers in September.

In other words, Facebook is belatedly realizing that not all developers are created equal. People can surely bicker about the selection process, but there needs to be some sort of screen to filter these apps. Facebook will also verify applications beginning in September and fund more developers.

These moves are overdue. Now Facebook along with MySpace are taking app verification and quality more seriously.

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