Facebook has launched 'AppCenter'. Back in November 2011 I posted a prediction that this day would come. So what is it and why should it interest you?
Is it a rival to Apple AppStore or Google Play?
Facebook says no it is not a competitor for the existing stores. Recent quotes from Tim Cook suggest that Apple's is getting closer to Facebook. Facebook users will be able to search for applications on their mobile. The results will include mobile web apps (Facebook integrated mSites) and native iOS / Android apps. If a user installs an app - web or native - the app is added as a bookmark with an icon in Facebook. If it was a native app the install process takes the user through Google Play or Apple AppStore - so no native app is downloaded from Facebook, yet.
What does a Facebook mobile app do?
The app, native or mSite, is integrated with Facebook. This alone is not new, but now the experience will be more seamless between apps and Facebook. The app icon in Facebook as a bookmark. Apps can raise notifications that are displayed in Facebook mobiles notifications. This could make Facebook the more frequent starting point for mobile users. It is bridging the gap between native apps and mSites.
So a Facebook mobile app is discoverable in Facebook?
Yes, this is currently a big reason to build a mobile Facebook app and it could change the way mobile apps (native or mSites) are searched. We know there are millions of apps downloaded everyday, Facebook could become the main app search starting point. With 900m users and a massive amount of mobile activity the marketing potential to launch an app in Facebook is overwhelming.
Will Facebook App Center sell apps?
Native apps will still (for now) be transacted via Google Play or Apple AppStore. However mSite apps (or HTML 5 apps) can be sold on the Facebook App Centre and the money will go through Facebook. Currently Facebook are looking to take the same 30% revenue cut that Apple take from their store.
Mobile = Social = Mobile
This move from Facebook further establishes the platform in the mobile space. As more apps, publishers, games, uitilities, etc launch onto Facebook App Center the more powerful the position for Facebook. The next 12 months will see social and mobile further merge together, in 12 months the two channels may be pretty tough to distinguish.