Facebook announced its App Center Thursday night — but it wasn’t immediately clear how users would benefit, or whether it simply added another layer between you and apps you download to your smartphone.
More than 600 apps are featured in the App Center. These apps are not new, and are already able to sync with your Facebook account, should you let them.
What has changed: now you can go to Facebook.com/appcenter, and choose apps you want to download on your Android or iOS device. Those apps then show up as notifications in your Facebook mobile app. Click the notification and it will take you to the regular app store on your phone so you can download the app in question. But you still need to go back to the Facebook app to authorize the app you just downloaded.
Here’s one way in which the app center might be useful: When you access an app on your phone that you synced with the Facebook app, and one of your Facebook friends visits the App Center, it will show your friend which apps you use.
In that sense, it’s more like a recommendation center than a store. For newbie smartphone owners, this might be useful for finding popular apps. There are numerous app review sites, but this would be a place where users can see which apps their friends are using. You can see what apps are popular with Facebook users in general.
For example, I tried adding the Pinterest app via my Facebook account. I visited the Facebook App Center on my laptop while logged into my profile. I clicked on the Pinterest icon, then on “Send to mobile.”
I immediately received a notification on my iPhone that Pinterest was available on my Facebook app. I unlocked my phone to access the Facebook app, which directed me to the Pinterest app. From there, I could pin, and my friends could see that I use Pinterest — that is, if they visit the app center.
In January, Facebook announced 60 apps integrated with Timeline and its Open Graph that made sharing easier than ever and opened the gateway for developers to put their apps on Facebook. The app center makes it easier to view and read about these apps.