May 9, 2012 at 6:35 PM ET
Facebook Wednesday announced its own app store, called the App Center, a move that puts the social networking giant in good company with other tech giants like Apple, with its App Store, and Google, with its Android-based Google Play store, as a way to buy and download applications, or programs.
"In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the Web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps," wrote Aaron Brady on Facebook's developer blog.
Brady said for the 901 million Facebook users worldwide, 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."
Apps will be both free and paid.
"Success through the App Center is tied to the quality of an app," Brady wrote. Facebook will "use a variety of signals, such as user ratings and engagement, to determine if an app is listed in the App Center."
And to gauge user feedback for app developers, Facebook said it's " introducing a new app ratings metric in Insights to report how users rate your app over time.
"Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed. Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won't be listed."
The new App Center is meant to "grow mobile apps that use Facebook — whether they're on iOS, Android or the mobile Web," Brady wrote. "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."
Mobile is a key element for Facebook as it moves forward with an initial public offering of its stock next week. Potential investors are looking at how Facebook plans to increase advertising revenue via mobile as more people access Facebook using smartphones, and not just computers.
Facebook said Wednesday that usage of its social networking service is growing faster than its ad deliveries, reflecting a shift toward mobile devices and away from computers.