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.
‘Hard to overstate’ how badly Taylor’s testimony damaged Trump: Ex-federal prosecutor
On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Politico Magazine that the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor was devastating for President Donald Trump — and that if he keeps trying to deny wrongdoing, it will only get worse and maybe even force Senate Republicans' hand against him.
"It’s hard to overstate how much damage the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor inflicted on President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing impeachment inquiry," wrote Mariotti. "On its face, Taylor’s testimony Tuesday established the quid pro quo that Trump has denied for weeks. But more importantly, Taylor’s detailed notes of the 'highly irregular' policy-making that he witnessed over the summer provide a roadmap to future testimony that could be even more harmful. Republicans have already begun to retreat from their 'no quid pro quo' line, but they will have to keep retreating because Taylor has almost single-handedly decimated the few witnesses who have provided some testimony that is favorable to Trump."
‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid
On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."
Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:
I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.
‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado
The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.
Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.
It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.