By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
Everyone who is anyone in the world of technology and internet is talking about Facebook’s new App Center. There really is no question that this is a huge step toward Facebook becoming a full-fledged mobile company (the Instagram acquisition was a good hint that that is where the company was headed.)
But just how significant is this announcement? Well, before we go into that, what is App Center? In six simple words, App Center is The Mother of All App Stores. Facebook has over 900 million users, so it is safe to say that any small strategic move by the company in pretty much any space will make an impact.
Take those 900 million users and offer them a unified app store for Web apps along with iOS and Android apps and you have yourself a mobile revolution.
Now, there is more, a whole lot more. Facebook will not rank the apps in the App Center by popularity or the number of downloads. Let’s be honest, we all know that is not an accurate metric for apps and how much you will enjoy them. But if Facebook could rank them based on quality, how your friends rank them, how much time they spend in them, as well as download numbers, well that would be a whole lot more accurate.
In fact, that would potentially give smaller developers the opportunity to play in the major leagues alongside Rovio, Zynga, and the rest of them. It would also give users the ability to discover new and relevant apps without the headache of searching the mess that is Google Play or even the App Store. Or in simpler terms, such a solution would single-handedly solve the increasing challenge of app discovery. Yes, Facebook, assuming the implementation of the new App Center is as good as the concept, might have very well just solved one of the biggest problems in the mobile world.
You know what else 900 million users mean to developers? A whole lot of potential revenue. Assuming app discovery is indeed solid in the App Center, there is pretty much nothing stopping Facebook from solving the challenge of app monetization as well. There is already a payment solution in place, which developers can sign up for here.
The catch, there is always a catch, is that only apps with a Facebook login will be included in the App Center, which means two things. One, you will be seeing a whole lot more apps with a Facebook login including flashlights, note-taking apps, and other things that have remained anti-social until today.
The second thing it means is that your Facebook feed will turn into one big spam-fest telling you what people are watching, reading, eating, doing, and any other verb you can possibly think of. Good times.
Oh, and in the long-term, this new announcement means two more things. Apple and Google definitely have what to worry about in terms of their respective stores. In fact, I am sure they are already planning a retaliation. The other thing this new announcement means is that there is now no question whatsoever, that Facebook is slowly transitioning into a full-fledged mobile company with a phone, an operating system, and probably one or more tricks up its sleeves.
This is getting interesting… Hoodie or no hoodie, Zuckerberg is one smart cookie!