Facebook is planning to launch a new mobile App Center in the coming days — possibly at an app-themed press eventthat the company is holding this evening in San Francisco. In themeantime, we've just received a slew of screenshots from aniPhone-using reader who appears to be seeing it live already. Update : Facebook says "Since we announced the App Center todevelopers last month, we've been testing it with a smallpercentage of users. We have no further details to announce at thistime." Well, here's what the new App Center looks like: The App Center will officially launch in the next couple weeks.Facebook says its already driving plenty of traffic and the AppCenter could further assist developers trying to gain traction. |
Inmay, Facebook sent more than 160 million visitors to mobile apps,up from 60 million in late February. So far its been responsiblefor more than 1.1b app visits. Facebook isn't just its own app platform trying to competewith Apple and Google, its a social layer that runs across thoseplatforms too. At one point recently, seven of top ten iOS appsand six of top ten Android apps had some Facebook integration. Discovering Apps You Can Trust Similar to the interfaces that the company showed off in early May when it announced the App Center plans , you can see a left-hand navigation feature withinFacebook's feature-heavy iOS app.
Apps with unreadnotifications appear in the top section. If you click through, yousee the App Center (and you'll note that the logo in thescreenshot also matches what Facebook has previously released). Facebook has been working hard to be more of a mobile platform. Ithas rolled out mobile sign-on features, mobile versions of itsCredits virtual currency, and most recently Open Graph hooks thatmobile app developers have been taking full advantage of (witnessthe turgid rise of Socialcam and Viddy for evidence of thosefeatures being exploited).
This new interface could get more users downloadingFacebook-enabled mobile apps. The main drawback is thatFacebook's mobile app is already so full of features thatmany users find it hard to use. Stuffing in an App Centerisn't going to ease the load. Here's what Facebook has already shown off: And here's a closer look at the screenshots we'vereceived. Note the final design may change a little from the testedversion we're looking at.
First up is the link for the AppCenter crammed in amongst all the other navigation links: Users then see a couple of featured apps up top, and can thenbrowse lists of Social Picks based on what their friends are using,and Top Apps that are the highest quality and most popular asdetermined by Facebook. Clicking through to an app reveals a dedicated page listing whatfriends use it and what it does, as well as screenshots. You canclick through to see photos of all your friends using the app,which could convince users that an app is worth their time.That's really the strongest part of Facebook's AppCenter and what sets it apart from Apple and Google'smarketplaces. On those you have to trust editors and the wisdom ofthe crowd, but with Facebook you get personalized suggestions basedon people you trust.
[Additional reporting by Josh Constine. Thanks Paolo Perazzo,CEO of SiVola for the tip.].
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