Facebook will finally have a one-stop location for its many applications, giving signed-in users the ability to read reviews and details about how the app functions before installing it. While this will help Facebook become more of a platform for developers, the social network says its App Center is not being pitched as a competitor to the existing ones belonging to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Facebook says the app center is “designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook — whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web.” The App Center will let users browse apps compatible with their device and if one requires installation, it will redirect away from Facebook to either Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
Facebook’s Aaron Brady made the announcement on the social network’s developers blog, adding that the center will be launched in the “coming weeks.”
The company will also begin supporting paid apps, starting as a beta test version for developers. While Facebook allows in-app payments currently, applications are free to access. Developers will have to create an app detail page with images for their app to be featured in the center.
Brady says the app center will be a way for Facebook users to identify high-quality apps available on the social network. “Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed. Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won’t be listed,” he writes. Brady says metrics including user ratings and engagement will be used to rank apps.
Along with Apple and Google, Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone systems also have their own mobile app stores that can be integrated with Facebook’s store.