Facebook Opens Up The App Center

On the verge of makings its stock market debut, Facebook is rolling out its very own app store in the coming days.

It is Facebook’s second attempt at centralizing the myriad of apps that make the social media site home into one store and, as another way for the social networking site to make some dough, will allow paid apps. The App Center will be rolled out on the web and on the Apple iOS and Android systems.

How does this help new media artists and developers? In a blog post published Thursday, Facebook’s Aaron Brady said, “For the over 900 million people that use Facebook, the App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps like Draw Something, Pinterest, Spotify, Battle Pirates, Viddy, and Bubble Witch Saga.”

Unlike other app stores by Android and Apple, Facebook goes beyond just a summary of the application and software updates. The company is requiring app developers to submit a detail page before having their app approved for the site.

From the images presented on the Facebook developers’ blog, it appears that the app pages have a similar feel to the current Facebook profile layout, equipped with a changeable cover photo and rating system. It allows developers to add images to the page and give permissions on who can and cannot download the app (age restrictions, countries, etc.).

Which apps are eligible for the store? Like Apple, Facebook is ensuring that tasteless, annoying apps don’t make it to the store. Among other things, apps should make a clear distinction between content and ads and prohibits excess advertising (e.g. pop-ups after making a move on a game), clearly state how and when the app will share information to Facebook and must have high app ratings and a low negative feedback rate.

However, like the rollout of the timeline on Facebook, the new app store won’t be open to all just yet. It will be open to developers selected as part of a beta testing program

Since this is Facebook’s second attempt at bringing all the apps into one facility and the timing of the announcement, the App Center could potentially rival the Apple App Store in terms of exposure and, if it encourages more developers and users, could be another source of money for the social media company (Facebook, like many other sites, will get a 30 percent cut from all app sales).

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