As we predicted last night, Facebook’s new application directory and Verified Apps program are now live. We knew about most of the features that were coming with this release, but this is the first time we’ve actually gotten to see what they’ll look like. So what’s new?
The new directory allows users to sort through apps using a number of new categories, including browsing through applications that live off-site (presumably through Facebook Connect), desktop applications, and iPhone apps that use Facebook Connect for iPhone. At the top of the directory is a section for featured items, where Facebook staff can feature some of their favorite applications even if they aren’t the most popular (a similar strategy has been adopted by Apple’s App Store).
Also new is a feed that is incorporated into the directory itself. At the bottom of the page, you’ll notice an area called “Recent Activity From Friends”. This includes updates from all of the third part applications your friends are using, the idea being that it will help you discover new applications that you might be interested in. Given that some of these items are likely appearing in your main News Feed these might be a little redundant, but it should be helpful nonetheless.
Application pages have also been updated to function like standard Facebook “Pages”. This means that users will be able to become ‘fans’ of an App and receive updates from it in their News Feed.
Finally (and what is perhaps the most important addition) are the Verified Apps. The green checkmarks that denote a Verified App are unobtrusive, appearing next to the star rating of an app (I suspect they may be even a little bit too easy to look over). But even if users don’t notice them at first, it might not matter much, because Facebook is clearly favoring them when it presents applications in the directory. Verified Apps get priority in the prominent “Applications You May Like” section, which is sure to drive quite a bit of traffic.