Fri, May 11, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Facebook opening online center for social applications

AFP and AP, SAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK

Facebook Inc on Wednesday said it was opening an App Center for mini-programs that plug offerings such as Pinterest or Draw Something into the leading social network.

The App Center will feature programs geared for Web browsers, as well as those for Apple and Android smartphones or tablet computers as part of a Facebook strategy to connect with its more than 900 million members on mobile gadgets.

“The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web,” Facebook’s Aaron Brady said in a blog post.

“From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play,” Brady wrote.

Facebook invited software developers to ready description pages for listing in the App Center, where applications will earn spots based on quality, popularity and other metrics.

“The App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps like Draw Something, Pinterest, Spotify, Battle Pirates, Viddy, and Bubble Witch Saga,” Brady said.

Paid applications will be allowed, with Facebook charging users flat fees.

Applications at the center must be designed to let people sign-in using Facebook Connect.

The App Center will open in “coming weeks,” Brady said.

Meanwhile, the company said the number of people logging in was continuing to grow more quickly than the number of ads delivered.

This is in part because more people are using Facebook on mobile devices, where it shows a very small number of ads, Facebook said on Wednesday. The finding implies that Facebook has room to grow in the still-nascent mobile advertising space.

Facebook said it saw that trend in the first quarter, and that has continued in the current quarter.

The Menlo Park, California-based company is expected to price its IPO next Thursday and start trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market on Friday. It said last week that it expected its shares to be priced at US$28 to US$35 each, which could value the company at close to US$100 billion.

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