One month ago, Facebook unveiled Facebook Places, its long-awaited location feature that lets friends check-in to real-world venues. Unfortunately, Facebook’s main website still hasn’t quite caught up to the new feature — for example, there’s still no way to get an at-a-glance view of where your friends are. Places also has a few shortcomings that normal users might not have noticed, including the fact that adding an application to a Facebook Place Page is a pain.
It’s possible to do it: Facebook is willing to port over the apps you have installed on your normal Facebook Page once you provide it with documentation proving you own the venue in question. But Facebook hasn’t done anything to showcase which applications actually make sense to include on a Place Page, and it’s unnecessarily difficult to find the option to install an application to a Place Page yourself. TechCrunch Disrupt finalist Appbistro wants to help.
Appbistro offers a marketplace for Facebook Page applications, allowing developers to charge for their apps (which Facebook doesn’t facilitate) and for users to review the apps they’ve used. Today the site is launching a section dedicated to applications that are suited for Facebook Places — at this point, there is no comparable section in the official Facebook Directory. Note that you can actually install any application to a Place Page, but many of them don’t make sense, which is why Appbistro is curating them.
Appbistro is also making the flow for installing an app to a Place page a little easier than it currently is. Normally, it’s pretty straightforward to install an app to a Facebook Page directly from Facebook: you find the application and hit the ‘Install to my page’ button. But there isn’t currently an ‘Install to my Place Page’ button, which means you have to go through a roundabout process of navigating the directory using a link at the bottom of your Facebook Places Page. Yeah, it’s extremely confusing.
The install flow for installing an app using Appbistro is a bit more straightforward, mostly because you don’t have to go hunting for the directory. That said, it’s not perfect — at one point you have to click an “Install on Facebook” button in two different places, which isn’t intuitive.