Facebook launched its own App Center late Thursday, offering users of the social network more than 600 apps from which to choose, from games like “Words with Friends” and “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” to lifestyle, news, sports, travel, photo and video programs.
Apps will be both free and paid. Users in the U.S. are the first to get the App Center, and it will be rolled out to all of Facebook’s nearly 1 billion users in the coming weeks.
Facebook’s App Center will expand globally in the coming weeks as part of a Facebook strategy to connect with its more than 900 million members on mobile gadgets.
“The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web,” Facebook’s Aaron Brady said when it was announced in May.
“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.”
App Center mini-programs included workout-tracker Nike+ GPS and a “Ghost Recon Commander” mobile videogame from France-based Ubisoft.
Facebook’s Matt Wyndowe promised in a blog post on Thursday that recommendations would be personalized to the tastes of each member of the social network based on the likes of friends in the online community.
Applications are ranked based on quality, popularity and other metrics.
“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,” Brady said.
Paid applications are allowed, with Facebook charging users flat fees.
Applications at the center must be designed to let people sign in using Facebook Connect.