Over 50,000 applications have been added to the Facebook application directory since it first launched two years ago, and Facebook says it’s about to take some steps to clean it up and make it easier to find out what apps friends are using. In addition, Facebook says it will launch redesigned application profile pages that work like regular Facebook public profile pages at the same time, sometime in the “coming weeks.”
Currently, the app directory is not easily discoverable by users and is a light source of new users for most developers. It lets users view apps according to which ones friends have (“Apps You May Like”), most active, and newest. In addition, apps can be filtered by category, though the distribution between those categories is so uneven that they don’t end up being that useful.
Facebook says the new version will have 3 main features:
1. App Directory Getting a Stream
First, the app directory home page will become a News Feed of stories just from applications. It’s another step by Facebook to encourage sharing amongst applications, and will help users discover which apps their friends are using to actively share content on their profile.
2. App About Pages Getting Streams
Second, application about pages are getting updated to look and feel like public profile pages. This means app developers can now send status updates and post other content to their app profile page stream that will show up in fans’ home page streams. It’s a new and interesting way for developers to keep their users engaged by posting interesting content.
3. Verified Apps Getting Prominence
Third, Facebook says the first verified apps will be coming online in the next few weeks, and they’ll be given special prominence in the new application directory. “These apps will be prioritized higher in the directory and will appear alongside a green checkmark in the directory and a verified badge on the application’s new Profile Page,” Facebook says. It’s been a long time since Facebook originally announced the verification program, so developers are keen to see just what advantages the verification program brings.
Finally, Facebook will be reworking the categories used to filter apps to make them more useful.
Altogether, these updates should make the application directory more functional for users and application profile pages more powerful for developers. Facebook is certainly moving in the direction of encouraging user communication through the stream, which makes us wonder what will happen to other communication channels in the future. Nevertheless, these are welcomed upgrades that should lead to more content flowing through the stream overall – Facebook’s overarching goal.