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June 10, 2012

Facebook launches App Centre

The social network has started rolling out the Facebook App store to its 900 million members

By Tineka Smith

Facebook  App Centre

The Facebook App Centre has finally started rolling out to Facebook members in the US after the plans were originally announced last month.

The App Centre is not currently available to British users but will be available to everyone over the next few weeks. It is expected more th an 600 apps will be available.

The store’s focus is on mobile apps, such as Spotify and Pinterest, rather than PC or ‘in-Facebook’ apps – such as Farmville.

Facebook’s Aaron Brady says it, "gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful."

Facebook’s App Centre is one way the company is attempting to strengthen its weak mobile platform.

The social network will also sell its own apps through the App store.

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"The App Centre is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web," said Brady on the Facebook developers’ blog. "From the mobile App Centre, 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."

Apps in the Facebook App Centre will also be required to use Facebook Login, which ensures Facebook retains control of the information on its network, and can continue to track user behaviour in the mobile arena.

Each app has an expanded app detail page, which helps people see what makes an app unique and will allow them to install it. These detail pages will be required for listing in the App Centre, and will pop up when users search for apps through Facebook.

Facebook’s recent investments in mobile along with its newly launched App Centre could allow it to be the first to offer a mobile development platform at browser-level.

"The App Center lets you install apps on Facebook’s mobile site. From the user’s perspective, this is important because it means apps are always up to date and from a developers’ perspective, it saves time and money," says Justin Kistner, Director of social products at Webtrends. "Instead of needing to specialise in the native language of each mobile OS, the same developers that build web-based games can build apps for mobile."

Facebook’s investments being predominantly in mobile show the company’s drive in becoming a successful mobile platform.

"Facebook’s investment in Instagram and Glancee further demonstrates its dedication to winning in mobile. As does its newly released news feed ads that will flow into mobile," says Kistner. "If Facebook can achieve similar monetization value for mobile users, then that will add massively to its revenue."

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below

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