Facebook Rivals iOS and Android with Social 'App Center' App Store

10 May 2012, 7:05 pm EDT By Jonathan Charles Mobile & Apps

Facebook has joined Apple and Google by offering an app store for its platform, allowing users to go to a dedicated place to run social apps. Facebook says it is the perfect place for the 900 million Facebook users to find apps.

Users will be able to access the Web, iOS and Android versions of the app in the "coming weeks." Apps eligible for submission are apps on Facebook.com in a canvas page (the width and height of apps); a mobile app built for the Web, iOS or Android that uses Facebook login, the systems that access for a user's permission before using an app; a Web site that used Facebook login and immediately logs in to create a personalized experience; and an app for Pages, to enhance other companies' Facebook pages.

Developers also have to create an app detail page, which allows the app to show up in search results. The eight requirements are a display name, short and detailed descriptions, a category and subcategory, icons, a cover image, small and large banners, screenshots of the app, and images that don't tell users to perform certain actions (such as "click here").

Facebook also says apps need to be high-quality, and outlines six key UI elements: an easy-to-use interface which has clear content and no bugs; an app that separates ads and content, and doesn't excessively use the former; high app ratings and low negative feedback; clear rules on how user information is shared on Facebook and when; no misleading or unintuitive Facebook UI elements; and finally, a log-in system for Web sites that only requires users to log in once.

"After you submit your app detail page, we'll review it. Keep in mind that creating an app detail page doesn't guarantee you'll be listed in the App Center, and we reserve the right to remove apps from App Center that doesn't meet a high quality bar," Facebook said on its developer blog.

Rejected apps will be given reasons for and feedback. Apps can be resubmitted after changes are made.

(reported by Jonathan Charles, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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