More Streams: Facebook to Upgrade App Directory, App About Pages Soon

Over 50,000 applications have been added to the Facebook application directory since it first launched two years ago, and Facebook says it’s about to take some steps to clean it up and make it easier to find out what apps friends are using. In addition, Facebook says it will launch redesigned application profile pages that work like regular Facebook public profile pages at the same time, sometime in the “coming weeks.”

Currently, the app directory is not easily discoverable by users and is a light source of new users for most developers. It lets users view apps according to which ones friends have (“Apps You May Like”), most active, and newest. In addition, apps can be filtered by category, though the distribution between those categories is so uneven that they don’t end up being that useful.

Facebook says the new version will have 3 main features:

1. App Directory Getting a Stream

First, the app directory home page will become a News Feed of stories just from applications. It’s another step by Facebook to encourage sharing amongst applications, and will help users discover which apps their friends are using to actively share content on their profile.

newpages1-wholepage22. App About Pages Getting Streams

Second, application about pages are getting updated to look and feel like public profile pages. This means app developers can now send status updates and post other content to their app profile page stream that will show up in fans’ home page streams. It’s a new and interesting way for developers to keep their users engaged by posting interesting content.

3. Verified Apps Getting Prominence

Third, Facebook says the first verified apps will be coming online in the next few weeks, and they’ll be given special prominence in the new application directory. “These apps will be prioritized higher in the directory and will appear alongside a green checkmark in the directory and a verified badge on the application’s new Profile Page,” Facebook says. It’s been a long time since Facebook originally announced the verification program, so developers are keen to see just what advantages the verification program brings.

Finally, Facebook will be reworking the categories used to filter apps to make them more useful.

Altogether, these updates should make the application directory more functional for users and application profile pages more powerful for developers. Facebook is certainly moving in the direction of encouraging user communication through the stream, which makes us wonder what will happen to other communication channels in the future. Nevertheless, these are welcomed upgrades that should lead to more content flowing through the stream overall – Facebook’s overarching goal.

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9 Responses to “More Streams: Facebook to Upgrade App Directory, App About Pages Soon”

  1. Walter Roth says:

    Another great post Justin, thanks!

    Does the about page have ALL the same functionality as public profile pages, or just the same (or more for that matter)?

    It will be interesting to how app developers will use this to drive more engagement, and how users will respond to it.

  2. Justin Smith says:

    Walter, Facebook currently makes it sound like they will be functional equivalents. Agreed!

  3. Omri Tintpulver says:

    Hopefully these changes will launch soon. How will application users and application fans be distinguished? Does posting status updates on the About Page post to the streams of both users and fans of the application? Looking at the settings on the Facebook beta site, it seems to only mention fans. We’ll see if users are included as well. http://so.ca/?p=191

  4. Applications in the Stream | Lonely CEO Media - Facebook Application Development and Consulting says:

    [...] Applications will soon be part of the stream. [...]

  5. Great news for a Friday afternoon… « Friends of FundRazr says:

    [...] Smith reports today on his InsideFacebook.com blog that Facebook is planning to release “in the coming [...]

  6. Some Social Games Have Facebook Pages With Over a Million Fans says:

    [...] (app developers can also publish updates from their application’s about page in the upcoming redesign of the Facebook application directory). Compare this to advertisers whose goal may be to drive traffic away from Facebook to their own [...]

  7. Chad Estes says:

    Giving an App About page a stream certainly allows the developer to communicate more directly with fans of the app, but most users don’t even know about the app about page, so I’ll be interested to see if it’s truly an effective feature.

    But, I don’t think it will even come close to having all the functionality of a public profile. Public profiles can have custom wall boxes, tabs and other advanced applications for interactive capabilities with users (beyond the standard photo, video, wall, link, discussion, etc). And of course all the new page insights Facebook has recently launched.

    As for the application verification program, prominence in the App Directory is all well and good, but only once users know where to find it. What would be even more compelling is lighter restrictions on application notifications for developers that’s are spammers, etc. Gives branded application developers more freedom to create compelling and useful applications that aren’t advertisement supported.

    Chad Estes
    Director of Strategic Services
    chad@vitrue.com
    http://www.vitrue.com

    Vitrue
    We make brands social™
    Social media solutions for marketers, agencies and publishers.

  8. Facebook Turns On New About Pages for Applications - Now With Streams says:

    [...] indicated last week, Facebook turned on new application about pages with the launch of the new application [...]

  9. Omri Tintpulver » Blog Archive » Facebook’s application “About Pages” inferior to new Facebook Pages says:

    [...] Inside Facebook writes: App About Pages Getting Streams [...]

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