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Is facebook's app center a win-win for iphone, android usersand developers? by he ni

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Is facebook's app center a win-win for iphone, android usersand developers? by
Article Posted: 08/23/2013
Article Views: 93
Articles Written: 1145
Word Count: 734
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Is facebook's app center a win-win for iphone, android usersand developers?

Business,Business News,Business Opportunities
After years of leaving users to fend for themselves when scroungingfor apps and games like Socialcam , CityVille or Draw Something , Facebook says it will finally launch an application hub to corral social apps in one place. It's called App Center,and Facebook says developers can (and should) start prepping theirapps for inclusion immediately. Facebook notes that, among other things, developers will be able tocharge flat fees for apps up front (like Apple via the App Store, Facebook currently takes a 30% cut). Somedevelopers already charge users for in-app purchases, but allowingthem to charge for apps outright is new. And the apps will beaccessible through web browsers (on computers) as well as nativeFacebook apps for Android and iOS devices.

( PHOTOS: Life Inside Facebook Headquarters ) But apps that don't meet certain quality standardswon't be visible, says Facebook, outlining an intriguingfeedback-based rating system that aggregates indices like"user ratings" and "engagement" to scoreapps in Facebook's performance metric tool, Insights."Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominentlydisplayed," explains Facebook, while "[apps] thatreceive poor user ratings or don t meet thequality guidelines won't be listed." That makesFacebook's App Center markedly different from Apple'sor Google's, which drill only on an app's performance,e.g. "top paid," "top free," "topgrossing," etc. The introduction of a centralized app store comes at a criticalmoment: Facebook just admitted in an amendment to its IPO filingthat its user base's shift from web to mobile meansthey're showing fewer ads per user, threatening theirlong-term revenues. According to the company: We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue fromthe use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do sosuccessfully is unproven.

We believe this increased usage ofFacebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend ofour daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than theincrease in the number of ads delivered. If users increasinglyaccess Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access throughpersonal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implementmonetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incurexcessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance andability to grow revenue would be negatively affected. So what does the App Center mean for us as end users (all 900million, that is)? For starters, it gives us one place to browsefor stuff, making app discovery more proactive. Instead ofdepending on word of mouth, media "best of" stories,third-party ranking sites, or for the right app ads to capture oureye, we'll be able to rifle through a hub that'saggregating and ranking stuff based in part on total communityfeedback.

It also means we'll be able to learn more about apps beforewe install them. Facebook says every app must have an "appdetail page," designed to let us "see what makes an appunique" before installing and accessing it. That alone shouldbe cause for celebration, in my view, after years of installingFacebook apps and giving them access to various aspects of ourpersonal dossiers just to learn what they are and do. Facebooknotes that even for non-Facebook users, an app's detail pagewill become their first-stop when a Facebook app link comes upwithin Facebook itself (as well as, presumably, independent searchengines).

Furthermore, Facebook isn't pitching the App Center as anApple/Google competitor. Rather, says Facebook, it's"designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook whetherthey re on iOS, Android or the mobile web." The App Centerwill let you browse apps compatible with your device, and if onerequires installation, Facebook says you'll be redirectedaway from Facebook to either Apple's App Store or GooglePlay. So far, I see nothing not to thumbs-up here. A user-related ranking and inclusion system? Achance to investigate an app before installing it? A way fordevelopers to compete on more level terms with Apple and Googlewith regard to app pricing? Everything in one centrallocation? App agnosticism when it comes to platform andinstallation? Sure, it means a little extra work for developers and new challenge metrics for getting an app included as well asmade visible, but the end benefits for users, at least on e-paper,seem broadly win-win at this point.

No, the App Center isn't live yet, but when it launches"[in] the coming weeks," you'll be able to accessit via /appcenter . ( MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012 ).

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