Facebook kills App Directory, wants users to search for apps

Facebook has closed down its App Directory, asking developers to just submit their apps to the search index.

Facebook is closing down its App Directory. The company noted that the directory was being axed "in its current form" but wouldn't elaborate further. Maybe Facebook will relaunch the feature at some point, but for now the social networking giant expects its users to find apps by searching for them.

At first glance, that may seem ridiculous. Facebook makes a decent argument, however, saying that less than 0.5 percent of all app installations come from the App Directory. Unfortunately, Facebook would not reveal what percentage of app installations comes from search, it merely say that it is a "significant number."

Until now, to be visible in search, you had to submit your app to the App Directory. Now, in the Developer pane for apps, Facebook has included a "Submit to Search" link in the Related links area on the left-hand side.

If you have more than 10 monthly active users, you can click the link and Facebook will submit your app to its search index. The company admitted it can still take up to 72 hours before a newly submitted app appears in Facebook's search listings.

As before, there is no approval process for launching a Facebook app. When you make a change to your app settings, Facebook will automatically update the listing.

"Many developers have been confused about what it means to submit to the App Directory and frustrated by the length of time it took to get approved," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We do not expect any noticeable decrease in traffic to your apps as a result of these changes and continue to focus our energy on social channels that deliver meaningful distribution to your apps."

I suspect the App Directory was barely used because it wasn't really featured on the website. Search is hardly the best way to discover apps; it's only useful if you know what you're looking for. Facebook needs a more prominent feature that showcases which apps all your friends are using (there's Friends' Apps but it's not easy to find). I don't have a single app installed on my Facebook account, but I would consider one or two if friends who I value highly were using them.