Facebook App Center delivers a visible social network for iOS apps

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Yesterday, Facebook unveiled its App Center for web-based apps that integrate with the company's social network. Rather than being a new competitor to Apple's iOS App Store however, the program is enabling iOS developers to leverage the benefits of a social graph.

Unlike Apple's iOS App Store (or its direct competitors including Google Play and Amazon Appstore for Android-based platforms, RIM's Blackberry App World or Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace), the Facebook App Center doesn't exist primarily to sell apps.

Instead, it aspires to direct the attention of its millions of social network members to Facebook web apps. That positions App Center as more of a competitor to Google's Chrome OS, which similarly hopes to shift users from conventional desktop software to web apps operating within a web-based platform plugged into a particular social graph.

However, most Facebook apps don't exist only in the bubble of Facebook itself. A variety of apps are actually cloud based services that interact with Facebook to tap into its rich social network features.

Goodreads taps into Facebook

Many of the cloud services that work as Facebook apps also exist as iOS apps, allowing mobile users to jump out of Facebook and into a standalone app that connects with Facebook on the back end. One example is Goodreads.



From within Facebook, users can interact with Goodreads web app to highlight books (physical or electronic) they are reading or have read, and leave reviews. Facebook friends can comment on or review and track each other's progress in reading new books.

Goodreads also exists as an iOS app for iPhone and iPad (as well as having an Android counterpart), allowing iOS users to interact with the Facebook community both on and off of Facebook itself. The Goodreads app is free on both iOS and Facebook; the service is supported by advertising (and to a smaller extent, affiliate links to books users buy directly though the app).

Unlike other e-reader apps (including Apple's own iBooks), Goodreads provides social network features by piggybacking on Facebook and plugging into a user's existing group of friends.

Voxer, Nike+ apps similarly leverage Facebook for social links

Voxer, an iOS walkie talkie app that allows users to send messages to friends or groups of friends using push to talk voice or as text or picture messaging (below left), similarly connects to Facebook for single sign on authentication, allowing users to rapidly get started and immediately begin interacting with their existing social circle without managing another new account.

Voxer allows users to send voice messages via any network connection, which are then stored temporarily on the cloud. Friends receive notifications when they receive a voxer message, and can immediately launch the app and begin listening to messages even as they're being recorded. As a conversation builds, users on both ends can review what was said, fast forward through speech recordings, and trade photos and text messages. The app is currently free.



Nike+, which is already bundled on iPhone 3GS and later using its built-in accelerometer, was also represented at the Facebook App Center launch event to demonstrate its premium Nike+ GPS app, which costs $1.99 (above right). The extra two bucks buys users GPS support, as well as social integration features.

Users can now post their runs to Facebook as they begin, and anytime their social circle "Likes" or comments on their post, the runner hears cheering to encourage their progress. After running, users can post their runs, join a challenge and set goals.

Apple's flat Ping

While Apple hoped to launch its own social features within iTunes with Ping in late 2010, users weren't quick to embrace the new service in large part because it lacked Facebook integration, leaving it isolated and useful only for tweeting out one's iTunes purchases.

iTunes 10


Apple initially hoped to link Ping to Facebook, but Facebook itself appeared hesitant to give Apple access on its own terms. Or in the words of Steve Jobs, Facebook demanded "onerous terms" just before Apple deployed Ping that prevented the two companies from being able to work together.

On stage at last month's "All Things Digital" conference, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook acknowledged that while Apple had "tried Ping," the lackluster demand for it from customers resulted in the company not wanting to "put a lot of energy into" the service.

At the same time, while noting that "Apple doesn't have to own a social network," Cook added, "But does Apple have to be social? Yes." He further cited Apple's existing Twitter integration in iOS and its already announced integration in OS X Mountain Lion, as well as iMessage and Game Center features as examples of Apple's interest in being socially connected.

"You'll see more things like that in the future," Cook said. And when asked if Apple was ready to kill its Ping service, Cook answered, "Will we kill it? I don?t know. We?ll look at that."

Cook also referenced a "very solid" relationship with Facebook and said to "stay tuned" for news of how Apple and Facebook would continue to work together.

While Apple may announce the beginnings of those plans at next week's WWDC, Facebook is already working to extend the reach of its social network by partnering with existing mobile apps to give them socially connected features. In fact, Facebook's rush to deploy its new Apps Center just days ahead of WWDC suggests that the company wanted to make a splash before Apple reveals its hand.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member


    A natural progression. This is, in fact, a necessary step, this Apple-Facebook partnership.


     


    If you're not somehow addressing social networking in a convenient, integrated way, you're doing it wrong. 

  • Reply 2 of 31
    wega58wega58 Posts: 11member
    The most interesting piece of information to me was besides Facebook App Center is the stats that Facebook released:

    More than 230 million people play games on Facebook every month
    More than 130 games on Facebook have more than 1 million monthly active users.
    More than 4,500 timeline apps have launched since f8 in September 2011.
    Facebook drove people to the Apple App Store 83 million times in May.
    Facebook drove people to iOS apps 134 million times in May (someone who already has the app and is directed back to it from Facebook.)
    As of May, seven of the top 10 grossing iOS apps and six of the top 10 Android apps have integrated with Facebook.

    This is some eye-popping information considering Facebook maybe sending close to half of all the traffic that Apple app store gets.

    Facebook app center is devastating blow to apple ecosystem
  • Reply 3 of 31


    onerous, gorgeous, phenomenal, magical. These are some of the words in Steve Jobs' vocabulary.

  • Reply 4 of 31
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    If only Facebook would go the way of flash... Keep this turd off my devices!
  • Reply 5 of 31
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    onerous, gorgeous, phenomenal, magical. These are some of the words in Steve Jobs' vocabulary.



    You left out....cool.

  • Reply 6 of 31
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    I've used Ping more than Google +, mainly because 1 > 0.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    I think the App centre will probably be removed from the iOS app at Apple's request. Apple will not want to confuse customers by have two "app stores" on the one device (even if one is just web apps).


     


    That said, I think Social Network should be like Maps: it should be an API that is used in other apps, not a thing in itself. That is why all the things people do on Facebook are so frivolous: it's because the service should really be an API not a web page.


     


    There could even be an open source one just like the open maps Apple is rumoured to have switched to. In fact once everyone syncs their Address Book to iCloud Apple will have the beginnings of their own social network API.

  • Reply 8 of 31
    29922992 Posts: 202member


    Ping? What is that?!

  • Reply 9 of 31
    lerxtlerxt Posts: 182member


    I can see it now "Voat Romney for Amercia"

  • Reply 10 of 31
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member


    The problem with social apps is that they all ask for permission to access your personal data - usually including friends, then they tell you nothing about how they will use this data. Thus, you are giving up not only your own personal data, but some data of all your friends to some app that is trying to make money off your data. 


     


    Personally, not only do I not like giving my personal data away to strangers, but to me it is a real breach of friendship to give your friends' names and FB addresses away.


     


    For this reason, I NEVER sign up for ANY FB apps.


     


    http://50CentFlash.com/

  • Reply 11 of 31
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member

    delete
  • Reply 12 of 31
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Right now, if you are in Safari on iOS and click the options(?) button you get an entire button to Tweet. There is really only room for one more button on that page as it stands. I think the size of the buttons are excessive so they could shrink it down and I don't very much they will have you click on a Social Networking button just to choose Twitter or FB as options. Any ideas how this will be added to make it useful without being intrusive?
  • Reply 13 of 31
    davidadavida Posts: 57member


    Betty White:"I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite."


     


     


    Is anybody still using facebook?


     


  • Reply 14 of 31
    wega58wega58 Posts: 11member
    davida wrote: »

    Oh shut up, over 901m people using Facebook. apple needs Facebook more that Facebook needs apple
  • Reply 15 of 31
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wega58 View Post

    Oh shut up, over 901m people using Facebook. apple needs Facebook more that Facebook needs apple


     


    There's no call for that. And no, Apple doesn't need sociopath networking at all. 

  • Reply 16 of 31
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member



     





    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wega58 View Post



    The most interesting piece of information to me was besides Facebook App Center is the stats that Facebook released:

    More than 230 million people play games on Facebook every month

    More than 130 games on Facebook have more than 1 million monthly active users.

    More than 4,500 timeline apps have launched since f8 in September 2011.

    Facebook drove people to the Apple App Store 83 million times in May.

    Facebook drove people to iOS apps 134 million times in May (someone who already has the app and is directed back to it from Facebook.)

    As of May, seven of the top 10 grossing iOS apps and six of the top 10 Android apps have integrated with Facebook.

    This is some eye-popping information considering Facebook maybe sending close to half of all the traffic that Apple app store gets.

    Facebook app center is devastating blow to apple ecosystem


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wega58 View Post



    •  


    •  


    •  

    Oh shut up, over 901m people using Facebook. apple needs Facebook more that Facebook needs apple


     



    I think you may be confused.


     



    • Facebook has more than 900 million users while Apple has approximately 120 million users.  Although this balance may seem to favor Facebook there are many additional considerations:



    • Facebook's revenue for 1Q2012 rose 45% YoY to USD $1.06 b (1)


    • Facebook's revenues were 6.5% lower QoQ (1)


    • Facebook's profit dropped 12% to USD $205 m from USD $233 m (1)


    • Facebook's profit was down 32% QoQ (1)


    • 11% of Facebook's revenue for the quarter came from Zynga, the social gaming company (1)


    • Apple’s 2Q2012 quarterly revenue was USD $39.2 b (2)


    • Apple’s 2Q2012 net profit was USD $11.6 b or USD $12.30 per diluted share (2)


    • Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones during 2Q2012, representing 88% growth YoY (2)


    • Apple sold 11.8 million iPads during 2Q2012, a 151% increase YoY (2)


    • Apple sold 4 million Macs during the quarter, a 7% increase YoY (2)


     


     


     



    • Facebook has a very low value-added component because they don't make anything of real value or solve a real problem in the marketplace 


    • Facebook's homepage says, "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life" i.e. "Facebook helps you meet eligible singles" 


    • Facebook’s ad-supported revenue model is merely a way to steal market share from traditional media, nothing is created except human interaction and connection which provides some benefits, but is difficult to quantify in revenue like a new Apple iPad, iPhone or Mac 


    • As the growth in the number of users slows, advertising revenues reach a critical inflection point, revenue growth slows down and eventually peaks and growth in total revenues can only be sustained by adding additional revenue streams (charging users for services, charging partners for API usage, etc.)


    • Social media fatigue is likely to eventually effect user’s interest in Facebook especially since Facebook user satisfaction hovers at a miserable sixty-six percent and user engagement is declining (5)


    • Social media advertising effectiveness is questionable as well since many users relate to Facebook as though the social network were an API rather than a platform as demonstrated by lower user engagement, what percentage of users actually click-through advertisements? (5)


     



    • Furthermore, Apple already has robust social networking features, including; Calendars, Contacts, FaceTime, Game Center, iMessage, “Find Friends” (location-based service), Mail, with Link Master providing integrated access to Apple’s content purchasing portal, iTunes


    • According to Tim Cook: “Apple doesn’t have to own a social network, but does Apple have to be social? Yes.” (5)


    • "You’ll see us integrate Twitter into the Mac OS as we introduce Mountain Lion. Game Center and iMessage could be thought of as social." (5)


     


     


    Apple social networking users invest in Apple products and services because they like those products and services thus they purchase more products and services which furthers vendor lock-in.  We know that users invest in Apple products and services due to the well documented customer satisfaction rates, customer retention rates as well as the market share of Apple products and services, especially the iTunes Store.  The key to the success of Apple's social networking is the persistent, ubiquitous but non-intrusive nature of the interactions.  For example, Messages was simply integrated into the existing SMS/MMS app, multiplayer matchmaking is offered within many games via API.  The concept of logging into a website or opening an app specifically to send an update or tweet doesn't exist, instead the interaction is part of the typical workflow for using a feature or accomplishing that function.


     


     



    1. Dominic Rushe.  Posted 23 April, 2012.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/23/facebook-earnings-revenues-slip-ipo  The Guardian.  Retrieved 9 June, 2012.


    2. Unattributed.  Posted 20 March 2011.  http://tommytoy.typepad.com/tommy-toy-pbt-consultin/2011/03/why-the-ad-supported-revenue-model-for-social-networks-could-result-in-another-dotcom-bubble-.htmlPBT Consulting.  Retrieved 9 June 2012.


    3. Juan Carlos Perez18 July 2011.  http://www.pcworld.com/article/235974/user_satisfaction_study_facebook_vulnerable_to_google.htmlIDG News.  Retrieved 9 June 2012.


    4. Nina Mandell.  7 June 2012.  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/money/facebook-engagement-fell-6-month-period-study-article-1.1091648New York Daily News.  Retrieved 9 June 2012.


    5. http://allthingsd.com/20120529/live-apple-ceo-tim-cooks-first-time-in-the-hot-seat-at-d/


     


     


     


     








































































































































































































    Apple 


    Facebook


    Google


    Twitter


    User Base


    125 million (based on unique iCloud users)


    900 million


    170 million


    140 million


    Persistent


    Yes on Apple Hardware


    No


    No (can be circumvented on hardware)


    No


    Cross Platform


    OS X, iOS, Windows (limited)


    HTML based


    HTML based


    HTML based


    Personalized Page


    No


    Facebook Pages


    Google+ Pages


    Yes


    Contacts or Friends List


    Yes


    Yes


    Yes


    Yes


    Social Groups


    No but Contacts may be grouped


    Yes


    Yes


    No


    Hashtags


    No


    No


    Yes


    Yes


    Email


    Mail and iCloud


    Messenger


    Gmail


    No


    Instant Messaging


    Messages


    Facebook Messenger


    Messenger


    Tweets


    Video Chat


    FaceTime


    Yes


    Hangouts


    external video chat links


    Real-time Feeds


    No


    Yes


    Yes


    Yes


    Location Sharing


    Find Friends


    No


    No


    No


    Location “Check-in”


    No


    No but update could include location


    No but update could include location


    No but update could include location


    Reminders for Events (i.e. birthdays)


    Yes, if information added to Contacts


    Yes


    via Google Calendar


    No


    Digital Photography Sharing


    Yes but not released on all hardware


    Yes


    Yes


    Yes


    Web Page Recommendations


    No


    Like button


    +1 button


    Tweet button


    App Recommendations or Links


    Link Maker


    Like button


    +1 button


    Tweet button


    Book Recommendations or Links


    Link Maker


    Like button


    +1 button


    Tweet button


    Movie Recommendations or Links


    Link Maker


    Like button


    +1 button


    Tweet button


    Music Recommendations or Links


    Link Maker & Ping


    Like button


    +1 button


    Tweet button


    TV Show Recommendations or Links


    Link Maker


    Like button


    +1 button


    Tweet button


    Multiplayer game Matchmaking


    Yes


    Yes


    Yes


    No


    Social Gaming


    Game Center


    Yes


    Games


    No


    Game Achievements


    Yes


    Yes via Facebook Updates


    ?


    No


    Leader Boards


    Yes


    Yes via Facebook Updates


    ?


    No


    Trending


    Via iTunes Store “What’s Hot”


    Yes


    Ripples and Sparks 


    Yes


    Revenue Model


    Hardware, iTunes Store


    Ad supported B2B & B2C lead generation


    Ad supported B2B & B2C lead generation


    Ad supported B2B & B2C lead generation


     

  • Reply 17 of 31
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    freerange wrote: »
    If only Facebook would go the way of flash... Keep this turd off my devices!

    jmmx wrote: »
    The problem with social apps is that they all ask for permission to access your personal data - usually including friends, then they tell you nothing about how they will use this data. Thus, you are giving up not only your own personal data, but some data of all your friends to some app that is trying to make money off your data. 

    Personally, not only do I not like giving my personal data away to strangers, but to me it is a real breach of friendship to give your friends' names and FB addresses away.

    For this reason, I NEVER sign up for ANY FB apps.

    http://50CentFlash.com/

    I agree. While Facebook used to be OK, it has gotten out of hand. It's flooded with:
    - "John Doe likes Walmart" messages
    - "Jane Doe scored 1000 on today's game"
    - "Susie Doe has invited you to play today's game"
    - "Joe Doe asked a question about you"
    And dozens more of these silly little fillers. It gets to the point that you can't see the content you want to see because of all the garbage.

    Yes, some of it (but not all) can be deleted without unfriending people, but it's a major annoyance and greatly lessens the value of Facebook to me, at least.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    wega58wega58 Posts: 11member
    There's no call for that. And no, Apple doesn't need sociopath networking at all. 

    Ask Tim Cook if Apple needs Facebook oh hold on did he say something already? Like i sad apple needs Facebook more then Facebook need apple. Apple will the next Nokia with out Facebook for old people prepaid service type. I wish Steve was still here
  • Reply 19 of 31
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wega58 View Post

    Ask Tim Cook if Apple needs Facebook oh hold on did he say something already? 


     


    Please show me where Tim Cook said that Apple needed Facebook.


     


    Quote:


    Like i sad apple needs Facebook more then Facebook need apple.



     


    Like I said, they do not.


     


    Quote:


    Apple will the next Nokia with out Facebook for old people prepaid service type.



     


    I realize you're young (probably too young) and enveloped in sociopath networking, but I can assure you it isn't the future.

  • Reply 20 of 31
    wega58wega58 Posts: 11member

    Apple is nothing without Facebook and Tim Cook knows that. Apple been milking Facebook traffic for long time. Not anymore with Facebook app center, apple will take big hit. Half of the traffic comes from Facebook.
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