Add Facebook to the list of big Internet and mobile players with their own app storefront. The social network Wednesday announced plans to launch an “App Center” in the coming weeks that will serve as a central hub for finding apps like Pinterest, Spotify, and Viddy as well as lesser-known titles that qualify for inclusion.
Through the App Center, Facebook will also allow developers for the first time to offer paid apps. “This is a simple-to-implement payment feature that lets people pay a flat fee to use an app on Facebook.com,” stated a post Wednesday on the Facebook Developer Blog. Previously, the company only allowed publishers to monetize apps through in-app purchases like virtual goods.
Whether an app is listed in the App Center will be determined through criteria including user ratings and engagement, with “well-designed apps people will enjoy” prominently displayed. To that end, Facebook issued a set of guidelines to help ensure app quality such as having an easy-to-use interface and a clear distinction between ads and content.
Each app will have its own detail page including common features like screenshots, a cover image, category,and a brief description of how it works. But Facebook noted that creating a detail page does not guarantee it will end up in the App Center. It will review app submissions, and if initially rejected, the company says it will explain why and provide suggestions on what to change before resubmitting.
The App Center will be accessible from Facebook.com as well as its companion mobile site and iOS and Android apps. From the mobile version of the App Cener, users can browse apps compatible with their device, and then be directed to Apple’s App Store or Google Play to download the app.
Facebook said it would give preference to apps submitted before May 18.