Cross-platform store will take user ratings into account when deciding whether to list apps
Facebook is getting into the app store game, announcing an initiative called App Center which it claims will help developers get their social web and mobile applications discovered by more people.
The App Center will spotlight free and paid applications that use Facebook’s social graph. It will be a part of the Facebook website, but also the company’s iOS and Android apps.
“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, Viddy, and Bubble Witch Saga,” explains Facebook in a blog post aimed at developers.
Apps will be sorted by category, including games, communications, lifestyle, music, news, photos & videos, sports, travel & local, TV & movies and utilities. Each app gets its own page on the store, which will become the first thing Facebook users see when searching for it – but only if it’s deemed good enough.
“Success through the App Center is tied to the quality of an app. We use a variety of signals, such as user ratings and engagement, to determine if an app is listed in the App Center,” explains Facebook.
“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.”
Those quality guidelines are available to read already.
They include stipulations that apps must “have an easy-to-use interface, clear content, value to users, and no significant bugs”, while clearly distinguishing ads and content “without excessive advertising”, setting “clear expectations about what user activity it shares on Facebook, and when”, and not mimicking Facebook’s own user interface elements.
To help developers avoid this fate, Facebook says it will be supplying them with analytics on how users are rating their apps, as part of its Insights toolset.
Within Facebook’s mobile apps, people will be able to browse apps and then install them from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play store if they’re native, or go straight to them if they are mobile web apps.
The App Center will also see Facebook moving beyond its historic focus on free apps that make money from advertising and/or in-app purchases.
“To support more types of apps on Facebook.com, we will give developers the option to offer paid apps,” explains the company. “This is a simple-to-implement payment feature that lets people pay a flat fee to use an app on Facebook.com.” Developers can request to sign up to a beta programme for this.
What’s interesting about App Center is the change of emphasis that it represents for Facebook. The social network’s app discovery has traditionally been focused on a mixture of virality – those messages that get posted in people’s news streams – and advertising.
In the past, this could have been seen as a sign that apps don’t necessarily need an app store to be discovered. Developers will be keen to take advantage of the change, but they will continue to keep a close eye on changes Facebook makes to its viral and advertising features.
Columnist nails Republicans for only caring about Hunter Biden now that his father is running for president
One of the critical questions that must be answered by Republicans, according to one Washington Post columnist, is why they didn't care about Hunter Biden's position at Burisma for so many years.
In a Sunday piece, James Downie asked why Republicans didn't do anything about Hunter Biden five years ago when it was first revealed that vice president's son was on the board of a Ukraine energy company. The House and the Senate were being run by Republicans until this year. They haven't had problems with other partisan investigations against high-profile leaders. There were ten investigations into the Benghazi attacks, three hearings, 29 witnesses, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours. Yet, it was only after Joe Biden announced he was running against President Donald Trump that Republicans discovered an issue.
Republican staffer caught spying on Democrats during Judiciary Committee meetings
A Republican staffer from the Ways and Means committee was caught spying on Democrats during their work over the weekend.
According to a Judiciary Committee source, the female staffer was ultimately discovered and ran out of the committee room once it was discovered she was there, tweeted Olivia Beavers, a writer at "The Hill."
"A Judiciary source says the committee, which has been practicing for their Monday impeachment hearing this whole weekend, came across a female GOP Ways and Means staffer in the hearing room today, but that she ran out once discovered," she tweeted.
New York Times editorial board asks Trump if he didn’t do anything wrong — why he won’t let witnesses testify
The New York Times editorial board issued a scathing op-ed Sunday detailing the ways in which President Donald Trump is destroying one of the key branches of the United States government.
While many presidents battle with Congress, Trump has taken his "obvious contempt" to a whole new level. But if he was truly innocent of the accusations he's facing, then why is he hiding so much.
"If Mr. Trump is so clear in his own mind that he didn’t try to pressure the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 election, why won’t he send the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to testify under oath that there was no quid pro quo?" asked The Times. "Instead, he has issued a blanket refusal to allow officials of his administration to testify or submit documents demanded by Congress. His approach is pitting Republican House members’ fealty to him against their respect for their own institution. They are making a fateful choice to diminish the House."