It looks like Facebook may be taking a lesson from Apple when it comes to applications. With thousands upon thousands of applications working their way through the user base, there needs to be a way for users to sift through them and find what they're looking for.
For Apple, that's done through the iTunes App Store. In the coming weeks, Facebook will revamp the way it showcases apps through a new application directory, app profile pages and a stamp of approval system called Verified Applications.
The new directory will include a refresh of the categories used to define the apps, better placement in the directory for apps that are "verified" with a green check mark and badge in the directory and an update of application's About page to look more like public Profile pages.
The updates will also include a stream of application stories, which means users will see a stream of stories that friends are generating from applications. From its blog post, the company said:
This stream will expose applications in a socially-relevant way and help the millions of users who visit the Application Directory each month stay updated with their friends' activity on Facebook. The stream serves as another channel for application discovery, allowing -- for the first time -- users to see what applications their friends use alongside editorial picks.
I'll reserve judgement on this last feature until I actually see it in action but my initial reaction makes me think that this will just lead to more clutter on my news feed. Facebook doesn't mention the ability to customize how much of this I'll see on the feed, but I would think that there would be a way to adjust this in the profile settings.
On the other hand, I might like knowing which applications my friends are using - other than the virtual snowballs or the "Which 70s TV show character are you?" types of polls.
For those who have written applications for Facebook, the company included some steps in its blog post that those folks should be taking in preparation for the launch.