As expected, Facebook officially launched their new App Center to the public on Thursday evening. The App Center is billed as the premier place to find Facebook-connected social apps for both mobile and the web.
Facebook's App Center launches with more than 600 apps, including expected favorites like Draw Something, Pinterest and Nike+ GPS. As of right now, Pinterest is the top rated app in the App Center.
One thing we knew about the App Center going in was that it would be heavily reliant on social factors - unsurprising considering the massive amount of data available in Facebook's social graph. Facebook says that "each person will have a personalized experience" when using App Center, as they will get recommendations based on not only their own past activities but their friends' activities as well.
Another important thing about Facebook's App Center is its reliance on user feedback. They clearly state that only "high quality" apps will even show up in the App Center. They base this measure of quality on user ratings as well as engagement. For users, this means that they will only see apps that meet the standards of Facebook and their friends - something that could definitely help weed out the less desirable apps out there. For developers, this will hopefully reward people who make good apps.
Facebook App Center is accesible by clicking the icon in your left-hand navigation menu or going to facebook.com/appcenter. Here's what you'll see when you land:
As you can see, the apps can be easily organized by either web or mobile at the top left. You can also what category you wish to browse - for instance games, music, news, or travel.
The left-hand column shows you recommended apps, which are personalized based on your activity on the site. The right-hand column shows you apps that your friends are using. The home page also shows you the top rated apps (based on engagement and user rating), trending apps (apps that are on the way up), and top grossing apps (those with the most in-app purchases).
Another draw for developers (and users alike) are the new, uniform info pages for each app. These pages include descriptions, screenshots, ratings, as well as information on which friends use the app. As you can see, the App Center description for Yelp tells me that 46 of my friends use it. That's the type of social information that could make me decide to make a download:
You'll also notice the "Send to Mobile" button on the right. This allows users browsing mobile apps via desktop to you mobiel device. If a mobile app requires a download, you'll be redirected to the App Store or Google Play.
Along with the announcement, Facebook also unveiled some stats about user engagement with apps:
- More than 230 million people play games on Facebook every month
- More than 130 games on Facebook have more than 1 million monthly active users.
- More than 4,500 timeline apps have launched since f8 in September 2011.
- Facebook drove people to the Apple App Store 83 million times in May.
- Facebook drove people to iOS apps 134 million times in May (someone who already has the app and is directed back to it from Facebook.)
- As of May, seven of the top 10 grossing iOS apps and six of the top 10 Android apps have integrated with Facebook.
The App Center is currently only available to U.S. Facebook users, and will roll out for everyone else in the next few weeks. It's accesible on the web, via iOS app, Android app, and Facebook on the mobile web.