Facebook App Center: Less Is More? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
News
6/8/2012
02:54 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Facebook App Center: Less Is More?

Facebook App Center promises to make it easier for users to find apps and developers to make money. Only about 600 apps greet users at launch.

Facebook's History: From Dorm To IPO Darling
Facebook's History: From Dorm To IPO Darling
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Facebook on Thursday launched App Center, its take on the Web-based app store, as it said it would a week before its initial public offering misfired in mid-May.

The App Center joins a growing number of app stores modeled after Apple's iTunes App Store, which debuted in July 2008. Apple claims a trademark on the term App Store, which may explain why Facebook is launching an App Center.

The App Center is nonetheless a store where Facebook users may find and acquire apps, for free or a fee. Facebook is allowing its developers to charge up front for their apps for the first time. Previously, the primary monetization option for Facebook developers involved in-app purchases.

[ Apple isn't standing still as competitors make moves. Read Apple WWDC: 8 Things To Expect. ]

Facebook's App Center provides access to Web apps, Android apps, iOS apps, and desktop apps with Facebook integration. While Facebook is offering its developers the opportunity to charge for their Facebook apps, it's not charging money for other types of apps. Instead, its fee is information.

For example, a user who finds an iOS app that he or she wants that is listed in Facebook's App Center can't install it directly. Instead of a Buy button, the App Center provides a Send To Mobile button.

Clicking on Send To Mobile sends a notification with a referral link to the user's Facebook mobile app, even as it makes the user's Facebook information available to the app publisher. This includes the user's name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, any other information made public, and email address.

The notification sent to the user's mobile device says that the selected mobile app "is ready to play on your mobile device." But it's not ready to play; it must still be downloaded. Clicking on the notification takes the user to the appropriate mobile app store to actually download and install the app.

For developers, the potential upside is considerable. By integrating Facebook's login system, developers may be able to get their apps in front of Facebook's 845 million users. For the few apps featured in the App Store with prominent placement or called out in showcase menus labeled "Top Rated", "Trending", "Recommended", or "Friends", downloads are likely to increase. Whether exposure in the App Center will translate into more users for apps that haven't made it big already remains to be seen.

However, Facebook's App Center has one thing going for it that Apple's iTunes App Store and Google Play do not: an app shortage. App Center has only about 600 apps at launch. Any app in the App Center at the moment is likely to get a lot more attention than an app lost among the 725,000+ apps in Apple's App Store or the 500,000+ apps available through Google Play. Sometimes, less is more.

Microsoft’s ambitious new OS tackles servers, PCs, and mobile devices. On the server side, we dig into the latest offering: Microsoft has boosted the capabilities of Hyper-V, streamlined management, and made other changes that IT will appreciate. Download the Windows 8 Vs. The World report now. (Free registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Deb Donston-Miller
50%
50%
Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/11/2012 | 9:21:03 AM
re: Facebook App Center: Less Is More?
The other difference--and the thing that Facebook does *not* have going for its App Center--is the confusion/fear users have when an app asks to share all of your Facebook info. I think Facebook has to make it much more clear to users what that whole process entails, spelling out any security and privacy implications--both for the users and their Facebook friends/fans.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Slideshows
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
News
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Commentary
Study: Cloud Migration Gaining Momentum
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Slideshows
Flash Poll