Facebook promised its App Center last month and has now launched the shop front for web and download apps. It caters for both Facebook desktop and mobile users, with iOS and Android users getting some 600 apps to try.
No Appology Required
With most of us used to picking our smartphone apps from Apple's App Store, Google's App Marketplace and web apps from the likes of Chrome's Web Store, Facebook's entry into the market may seem like a piece of unwanted confusion.
But the company, now a public entity, needs to find revenue opportunities wherever it can. By expanding its presence in the app market, as announced recently, and by ultimately bringing its hugely popular supply of Facebook-hosted games and apps to mobile users, the company can help expand the revenues it, and the app developers get.
Currently acting as a half-way house, most apps it recommends, based on your Facebook activity, along with popular choices and what your friends are playing, will take you directly to your usual app store (iTunes or Google Play). So, the likes of Draw Something, Spotify and Instagram are high on the list. Only web apps on the desktop are the ones it can install directly for you.
For mobile apps, the desktop version will send a message to your phone that will provide a direct link to the appropriate mobile app store, just check that the app is available for your device as there are reports of it sending some duff links for iOS apps to Android phones. With both Google and Apple bringing updated map apps soon, will social recommendation soon help the competition?
Facebook's directory of apps should rapidly expand to something far bigger
Looking Forward to World of Apps
The experience on smartphones is currently rather reduced with limited browsing of just Apps and Game, and recommendations, with no obvious search. Expect this experience to grow rapidly as users continue to rely on their mobiles for their social media and entertainment.
If Facebook can get those hugely popular web games playing on smartphones through the Facebook store then it should benefit from the revenue share of in-app purchases and outright buying of huge numbers of games.
It may take some time to be considered on a par with any rival app store, but the company has the commitment and a huge user base to attract developers with. Expect exciting developments in this space in the coming months.