Jun 08, 2012 03:21 PM EDT
Facebook Launches 'Easy to Find' Third-Party App Center
Facebook launched a new app center that gives users a one-stop shop for Draw Something, Instagram, Pinterest and hundreds of other app programs that run on the social-media mega-site.
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Collectively, the center, which debuted Friday to users in the United States, will offer about 600 apps. And, for the first time, Facebook will be offering paid apps as well as free ones from the center.
The center will only work on the Web and on Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems.
The center will offer personalized suggestions to users based on their interests, according to Facebook.
When plans for the center were announced last month, Facebook said developers would be given the option of charging a one-time fee for their apps.
"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," Facebook's Adam Brady wrote.
Many of the apps featured in the App Center are already available on Facebook (although the site expects new ones to spring up). But with the App Center, users will be able to browse for new ones instead of aimlessly searching for them.
The social-media site said the search engine will help users spend less time weeding through low-quality apps to find the ones they actually want.
Facebook makes about 15 percent of its money through payments in games and other apps, according to filings when the site went public. Zynga, owner of FarmVille, Draw Something and other successful games, is responsible for the majority of those payments. Facebook takes a 30 percent cut.
Each app will have a detail page that will be found in Web searches and give potential users information about the app.
In an attempt to inspire potential investors after what's been a rocky start for its publically traded stock, the App Center could be a sign that the site plans to take on larger Internet moguls such as Apple and Google. Integrating more smartphone and tablet apps could also boost Facebook's mobile presence.
As Ars Technica reported, Facebook has been touting the role it already plays in online and mobile app sales, releasing statistics that show it sent users to Apple's App Store 83 million times last month alone.