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Facebook rolling out centrallocation for apps


NEW YORK (AP) ? There's more to
Facebook apps than "Angry Birds"
and Pinterest, but many users
wouldn't know that because there
hasn't been a good, central way to
find them. Facebook Inc. is trying to change that.
On Thursday, Facebook is beginning
to roll out its App Center to its nearly 1
billion users, so they can find games
and other applications with social
components more easily. The App Center, available on
Facebook's website and on Apple
and Android mobile devices, will
recommend apps to users based on
their interests, the types of apps their
friends like, or the apps they have liked in the past. Many people are introduced to
Facebook apps in the form of
sometimes-annoying requests from
their friends for poker partners,
Scrabble buddies or neighbors on
virtual farms. Those requests haven't necessarily matched a user's specific
interests. The new App Center will initially
feature about 600 Facebook apps,
mostly games, reviewed by the
company to meet its quality
standards. Games, such as Zynga's
"CityVille" and Electronic Arts' "The Sims," are the most popular types of
apps on Facebook. But the company is betting that by
personalizing recommendations to
users, people will find new types of
applications beyond games, along
with games that are more interesting
to them. There are all sorts of social apps that use Facebook, from music-
listening services such as Spotify to
what-you-just-ate tools such as
Foodspotting. "We spend all day, every day building
a platform (so that) great social
games and apps can exist," said Matt
Wyndowe, product manager for apps
and games at Facebook. But a
common question has long been where to find them. "Up until now, we
haven't had a great answer to that
question." Facebook said that on mobile devices,
the App Center won't compete with
other app stores, such as Apple's or
Google's. Rather, the App Center will
send users to those other stores to
download the programs. People can also get mobile apps from their
regular computers by using a feature
called "send to mobile." Among the roughly 600 applications
included in the App Center at launch
will be the Nike Plus GPS running app,
which lets users track their runs and
broadcast it to their Facebook feed.
Ricky Engelberg, whose title at Nike is experience director at digital sport,
said having a place where apps are
showcased will "let more people be
part of the Nike Plus community." The App Center, which Facebook
announced last month, will be rolled
out to U.S. users beginning Thursday
night and to everyone else over the
coming weeks. ___ Online: http://www.facebook.com/

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