Facebook has officially unveiled its App Center, a collection of free social applications for both web and mobile platforms, with an initial offering of around 600 apps.
Four weeks after announcing its intention to launch its own App Center, Facebook has started to roll our the new service to Facebook users, initially to those in the US.
The new App Center will include apps that have been reviewed by the company to meet its quality standards and which have some connection to Facebook. While Games, such as Zynga's CityVille and Electronic Arts' The Sims, are the most popular types of apps on Facebook, there are many social apps in other categories that qualify from music-listening services such as Spotify to what-you-just-ate tools such as Foodspotting and Nike+ GPS running app, which lets users track their runs and broadcast it to their Facebook feed.
On mobile devices, Facebook isn't going to compete with other app stores, such as Apple's or Google's. Instead, the App Center will send users to those other stores to download the programs. The idea is to help Facebook users locate apps:
According to Matt Wyndowe, product manager for apps and games at Facebook:
"We spend all day, every day building a platform (so that) great social games and apps can exist. But a common question has long been where to find them. Up until now, we haven't had a great answer to that question."
As far as Facebook is concerned, the motive for the App Center is to further its growth as a social platform that makes money from advertising. Doug Purdy, who works on the product development team at Facebook said in an interview:
"We are largely an advertising company, and we continue to make our money that way. The more applications that people use, that are social, that they share, of course that benefits us. It means that we can sponsor those stories, it means that we're better in our ads and marketing. And that's really what that's about for us."
For developers the benefits of the new App Center is the additional promotion Facebook can offer them. In App Canter you will be able to see the app used by your friends - a strong recommendation when people are looking for new apps to install.