Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), the social-networking company that held an initial public offering last month, introduced an online directory for downloadable apps, taking a page from Apple Inc. and Google Inc.
The service, called App Center, debuts with 600 applications, including Zynga Inc.’s “Draw Something” game and Pinterest Inc.’s online bulletin board, Facebook said Thursday in a blog posting and a press conference in San Francisco.
“The App Center gives you personalized recommendations, and lets you browse the apps your friends use,” Facebook said in the blog. “It only lists high-quality apps, based on feedback from people who use the app.
“In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps. All canvas, mobile and web apps that follow the guidelines can be listed. All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch.
“For the over 900 million people that use Facebook, 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.
“Everything has an app detail page, which helps people see what makes an app unique and lets them install it before going to an app.”
Facebook, seeking to attract more software developers, is looking for new ways for users to find and access applications through its service. Apps, which let users do everything from play games to listen to music, encourage consumers to stay on a site longer and thereby help marketers more easily target them with advertising.
With the new service, users call up a directory of software options by tapping a button within a mobile Facebook application. When users find an app they like, they’re sent to the Apple or Google store to download the software.
The service also is available when users are signed on to Facebook’s desktop version, letting members send the application to their mobile devices. App Center was introduced in the U.S. yesterday and be available elsewhere in the coming weeks, Facebook said.
(Bloomberg news contributed to this report.)