Facebook Launches App Center

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- It's about to become much easier to find and install Facebook apps to your Facebook Timeline. The Facebook App Center, announced in early May, will begin rolling out as soon as Thursday night to some users.

The App Center, which isn't called a store, will launch with over 600 free Facebook apps. Free for now -- Facebook has announced that some of its partners plan to offer paid apps in the future.

The App Center, which ABC News got a sneak peak at earlier this week, places apps into different categories -- Games, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music -- to make it easier for users to find and install them. Facebook apps, or what has been known as Timeline apps, are apps that live on your Facebook page or are used on Facebook, including games such as Words With Friends.

"We wanted a place to put all of the apps," Facebook communications manager Malorie Lucich told ABC News. "The App Center is now full of very high quality apps that are easy for Facebook users to find." Facebook has been selective about what apps appear in the app portal and will continue to be the one to add them.

The center can be accessed by clicking the "App Center" tab on the left side of the Facebook site or in the Android and iOS apps. The homepage of the App Center, as pictured above, displays some of the more popular apps. Additionally, there will be a column of apps that are recommended specifically for you based on apps that are popular amongst your friends, making it one of the more social app stores.

However, Facebook has been clear that the App Center isn't meant to compete with app stores from Google or Apple. Rather, "it sends traffic to them," Lucich said. According to Facebook, it drove users to the Apple App Store 134 million times in May.

And the App Center will only increase that. Each app has a landing page on both the website and within the Facebook mobile app, which contains images of the app, a rating and an install button so you can install it to your own Timeline. If you're on a computer, it will also have a "send to mobile" option for those apps that also have mobile versions. If you select that option, Facebook will send you a text message with a link to download the app to your phone. However, if you view the store on your phone, there will be a button that takes you to the download page of that mobile app.

While there are more than 4,500 Timeline apps available, the App Center only has Facebook-selected apps. Included in the first 500 are popular apps, including Draw Something, Spotify, Nike GPS+ Mobile, Foodspotting, Pinterest, and games like Jetpack Joyride and Ghost Recon Commander.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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