Facebook Introduces App Center, Paid Apps Beta

By David Cohen 

Facebook’s apps and games discovery page? That’s so yesterday. The social network today announced the upcoming rollout of its new app center, aimed at giving developers the chance to grow their social applications and at providing users with a one-stop shop for apps.

Buried in the app center announcement, Facebook also said developers will have the option of offering paid apps, allowing them to charge users flat fees to access their apps via Facebook. The social network referred to this initiative as a beta program, and it said interested developers can sign up here. Further details were not available.

The app center is not live yet — Facebook’s announcement said, “In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the app center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps” — but developers are getting a head start to prepare, with an app center guide and guidelines already published for their use.

Facebook users will be able to browse through app detail pages, and developers will get a better handle on the perception of their apps due to a new ratings metric in Insights, giving them historical context and breaking down feedback by categories including gender and age.

Here are more details from Facebook’s announcement on its new app center, from its developer blog:

Everything has an app detail page, which helps people see what makes an app unique and lets them install it before going to an app.

Success through the app center is tied to the quality of an app. We use a variety of signals, such as user ratings and engagement, to determine if an app is listed in the app center. To help you monitor user feedback, we are also introducing a new app ratings metric in Insights to report how users rate your app over time.

Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed. Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won’t be listed.

The app center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook — whether they’re on iOS, Android, or the mobile Web. From the mobile app center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

To grow your mobile app through the app center, your app needs to use Facebook login.

All developers should create an app detail page. The page is required for being listed in the app center, and it will also become the new destination when non-users search for your app on Facebook.

Before creating your app detail page, read the guidelines to ensure that your page does not get removed. App detail pages that are eligible for the app center will be reviewed prior to being listed, and priority will be given to those apps that submit before May 18.

Many developers have been successful with in-app purchases, but to support more types of apps on Facebook.com, we will give developers the option to offer paid apps. This is a simple-to-implement payment feature that lets people pay a flat fee to use an app on Facebook.com. If you are interested in the beta program, please sign up to receive more information.

Readers: Do you think the app center will be a helpful resource for you once it is available to the public? And would you consider paying to use apps on Facebook?