Facebook to launch the “App Centre”
May 11th, 2012
With over 50% of users connecting to Facebook via mobile it comes as no surprise to see the social networking giant building on their offerings in this sector. In the wake of their recent $1bn purchase of Instagram, they have announced the App Centre. Described as a place to grow mobile apps which use Facebook Connect, customers will be able to browse the App Centre library and, if they need to, be sent to their relevant store (Google Play etc) to download it. Cross-functionality with computers means apps can also be played on your desktop as well as when out and about.
What truly separates it from Apple and Google's stores, however, is the way it relies on measurements other than user reviews to rank its apps – average length of use and numbers of shares factor just as heavily. These extra considerations when rating an app will hopefully allow for a higher standard of quality and less “filler”, as only the highest rated will get listed.
It also presents an interesting case for developers to integrate Facebook functionality within their programs, as they need to if they are to be considered eligible for listing. But with so many incentives for doing so, it would be madness to ignore it – a one-off fee to use the service through Facebook combined with a potential audience of 900 million should be enough. There has never been a 3rd party discovery tool with this volume of users.
All in all, Zuckerberg and Co. are taking great strides in the mobile market this year and rising to the challenge it poses to ad land (aka their income source). What remains to be seen is their future ambitions for the app centre and their stake in the mobile market – where will they take it from here? Could this be the first step towards an independent mobile platform, free from the constraints of Apple and Google? Tweet us @analogfolk with your thoughts.