Is App Center Facebook's power play into mobile web?
Facebook’s flirtations with the world of social mobile web stepped up a gear this week with the launch of its own app store, offering tasty promotional opportunities for developers, but scant money making opportunity for the soon-to-be-public social networking behemoth; though perhaps a pathway to future riches.
The App Center, as it will be called, will list social apps that utilise the social network’s own login feature, listing iOS and Android, as well as HTML5 browser apps; sending users to either Google Play or Apple’s App Store when an app requires installation.
While Facebook won’t be making any money from app download conversions it fires through to Google and Apple, it will be able to profit from paid HTML5 web apps. The company will take the customary 30% cut of revenue; devs who want to find out more about this should sign up for the beta initiative here.
However, while on the face of it, App Center isn’t an earth shattering money making opportunity for Zuckerberg’s company, a number of commentators have tipped their hat to Facebook for a smart play in a long game of mobile web dominance. A play that sees it using its vast promotional power to promote only apps that integrate with its login.
At the same time, the allure of almost a billion potentially app-hungry users will be tempting developers towards HTML5, and away from native platforms. If HTML5, as we’ve so often been told, is the future, Facebook looks intent on being part of it.
Interestingly, Facebook will use a number of metrics around user rating and engagement to determine if an app is listed in the App Center at all.
“Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed,” wrote Facebook engineer Aaron Brady in a blog. “Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won't be listed.”
Developers can create app detail pages, similar to Google Play or the App Store that shows user reviews and ratings and lets you upload screen shots and configure your app permissions.
Before creating your app detail page, read the guidelines to ensure your page does not get removed, added Brady. App detail pages that are eligible for the App Center will be reviewed prior to being listed and priority will be given to those apps that submit before May 18.
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