Facebook is replacing the current Apps and Games Dashboard with a new App Center feature that sorts Facebook apps by category and user ratings.
Detailed on Facebook’s developer blog, App Center will be viewable from Facebook.com, mobile web and Facebook’s iOS and Android apps when it rolls out over the next few weeks. Clicking on an app from within App Center directs a user to that app’s native platform, where the user can install the app. The new feature also introduces app detail pages, which is where users will land when typing an app name into Facebook’s search function. Apps are also filtered into additional categories for “top grossing,” “recommended” and “trending,” as well as module that displays friends’ apps.
In order for an app to appear in App Center, developers must follow a set of submission guidelines and wait for review from Facebook. The company says it will use a variety of signals — including user feedback and engagement within apps — to determine whether or not an app will be listed in App Center. Details about how to submit an app to be listed are available here.
As we can see in the screenshot below, star ratings figure prominently into App Center’s categorization. Facebook has been playing with the ratings system a great deal in the last three months, introducing new modules to solicit more ratings from users. A new app ratings metric is being added to Insights so that developers can track user ratings over time.
This is a reversal of the social network’s position on app discovery a year ago, when Facebook relied on algorithmic discovery of new apps. By creating a centralized app hub, Facebook hopes to drive more growth to higher-quality apps — and to new categories of app that are currently difficult to find. The social network will also likely drive more mobile app installs.
Facebook is also announcing a new paid apps model, though it still expects the bulk of transactions to be driven by in-app purchases. Interested developers are being asked to contact Facebook directly for more details.
App Center will go live in the coming weeks.