Earlier this week, Aaron Brady from the Facebook Developer Team took great pleasure in announcing to the world Facebook's latest venture - Facebook App Store. Sorry; Facebook App Center. Another company has already staked their claim on the term 'App Store', much to the annoyance of Mark Zuckerberg, no doubt.
Without revealing too much about the new Facebook App Center, the announcement has unsurprisingly caused quite a stir in the already saturated application market: "For the over 900 million people that use Facebook, the App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps like Draw Something, Pinterest, Spotify, Battle Pirates and Viddy."
More importantly from a financial perspective, "Developers will have the ability to charge a fee for apps sold in the store in the near future", Facebook said. All of this goes hand in hand with Facebook admitting that growth in mobile use could hurt future advertising revenue. Prevention is better than cure, and Facebook are experts when it comes to identifying potential stumbling blocks and solving them before they rear their ugly heads. The App Center is the latest demonstration of this.
When will the App Center be rolled out?
No official release date has been announced, but with the submission deadline for app pages being set as next Friday we can safely assume it's in the not too distant future. Aaron Brady's only indication was that people would be able to access the App Center "in the coming weeks". We suspect it will be fully operational by the end of June, without a shadow of a doubt.
Who should create an app page?
All developers should create an app detail page. This page is required for being listed in the App Center, and it will also become the new destination when non-users search for your app on Facebook. App detail pages are created in the App Center section of the Facebook Developer App, and if you want more information it can be found in this useful FAQ guide.
So, should I create an app page already?
If you haven't already started planning it, you should start. Right now. Aaron Brady made it very clear that submissions will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis; "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 18th."
How do I make sure my apps are eligible?
There are various restrictions on image size, promotional banners etc. Naturally, app pages will be reviewed and tested by Facebook prior to approval. Guidelines on suitable submissions can be found here, and we've included four examples below to highlight acceptable and unacceptable graphics for your Facebook app page.
Facebook are in the fortunate position to be particularly ruthless when it comes to hitting the approve button, so try your best to make sure you get it right the first time around.
Which platforms will the App Center be available on?
Facebook have very publically announced that their App Center is not a direct competitor for the likes of Apple App Store, Blackberry App world and all the other various application stores. That said, it quite plainly is going to reduce the amount of traffic these services. The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook - whether they're on iOS, Android or the mobile web. From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play.