Last month, Facebook announced the release of their new app distribution platform, appropriately dubbed Facebook App Center. Drawing inspiration from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, Facebook App Center is poised to solve many of the problems currently plaguing Facebook App developers.
To quickly summarize; Facebook App Center is a new soon-to-be-live feature of Facebook that will allow users to much more easily find Facebook apps based on some vague combination of quality and popularity, by way of Facebook staff recommendations and user ratings. It’s a Facebook-flavored app store, hopefully without the huge discoverability problem of the current markets. In terms of discoverability, Facebook has a leg up on Apple and Google because of the vast amounts of social data the company collects about every user, enabling finely tuned social recommendations.
Previously, Facebook apps were only discoverable (on Facebook) through the search interface and via your friends’ app posts that show up in your newsfeed. This meant that finding an app was solely based on popularity, not on the quality of the application. Facebook apps were loosely defined by their pages, and nearly impossible to find from your mobile device.
Facebook aims to drive the download of native Facebook mobile apps by linking directly to to App Store or Play Store page for the app. This is a huge win for Facebook-enabled iOS or Android apps, as it enables a powerful, social angle of discoverability.
This all comes at a small cost for developers. Instead of taking the Google ‘wild west’, wide open approach to app curation, Facebook opted for an Apple-esque model of review for Facebook App Center apps. This will (hopefully) enable smaller name, high quality Facebook apps to get a seat in the limelight, instead of slumming in the shadows of big Facebook App players like Zynga and Pinterest.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction for Facebook’s app ecosystem, hopefully contributing to the creation and success of higher quality social apps. We are putting our recently launched Facebook app LikeWise through the review process to get a first-hand look at what it’s like from this side of the table. Stay tuned…