The app store, currently only available in the US, is available on desktop computers as well as smartphones using the Android or iOS operating systems. It is also available on tablets with the Facebook app.
The store will become available to UK residents and other countries over the course of the next few months. Only a little over 600 apps made the cut and got into the app store, including favourites such as The Sims, Socialcam and Pinterest.
“Every app in the App Centre has screenshots and a detailed description, so you can learn more about it before installing it,” explained Matt Wyndowe, Facebook’s Apps and Games Product Manager. “It helps you control your privacy by showing the information an app needs and letting you choose who can see your activity on Facebook.”
Moreover, the app store has been designed to “personalise” every user’s experience, displaying recommendations based on the apps the user has already downloaded and the apps their friends are using. Personalisation and socialising have always been important parts of Facebook’s strategy.
In a recent statement, the social network explained, “We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.”
The company believes that giving mobile users the ability to share Facebook games with friends and family will enhance users’ gaming experiences and improve the opportunities to profit from the mobile market.
This could potentially be a fantastic move for the social network, as it is well-known that the company has struggled to make money out of their ever-growing mobile user base, which currently makes up around half of all Facebook users. The way in which this will help Facebook to profit from the mobile market is by in-app sales, of which Facebook receives 30% of the revenue.
“At least half of Facebook’s members use mobile and it really needs to find a way to make money out of them,” explains Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis. “If you look at Apple it has a fantastic app platform, but unless you are a high-profile brand, getting noticed is like being struck by lightning. What Facebook wants to provide is a discovery mechanism that sits on top of its store and encourages you to share apps and content with friends – and there is a huge appeal to developers in that.”
There is a lot of speculation at the moment that this app store launch is linked to the rumours of a Facebook smartphone, as previously reported by Ask The Experts. The App Store will help to ensure the smartphone is able to complete with its rivals Apple and Android, who currently control 82% of the mobile market.