Last week we got a little clue that Facebook was gearing up to take its App Center to markets outside the U.S., when it began to appear in the UK. As of today, it’s official: Facebook has now extended the App Center to Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, with Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey coming in following weeks. And in a nod to making the platform more accessible to developers from around the world, it’s also introducing a translation tool.
The App Center was first launched in June in the U.S. as a way to help discover new apps, with personalized recommendations, and for people to get apps specifically for mobile devices. Quickly ramping up the service to cover Facebook’s users outside of the U.S. is a crucial step. Users outside of the U.S. and Canada make up more than 80 percent of Facebook’s user base; it will help it increase time spent on the site by all users; and it will also make the App Center a more attractive marketplace for those developers hungry for a wider audience for their apps.
The development will mean that Facebook users in these markets will now get an App Center bookmark on the left side of their home page on Facebook.com and in the Facebook apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Facebook also used the announcement for some updated details on how well the App Center has performed since launching: “millions” of people have used it to find new apps. Games developer Kixeye says that average revenues per user on War Commander and Battle Pirates are higher for those downloading through the App Center; Disney reports that users of Marvel: Avengers Alliance are also more “engaged” when they download via the App Center.
The move to make the storefront more international is not just a reflection of Facebook’s user base, but also of the developers feeding into it: Diamond Dash comes from Wooga in Germany and Bubble Witch Saga from King.com in the UK. Halfbrick, Rovio, Soundcloud, Spotify and Deezer are also popular app publishers from outside the U.S.
Now Facebook is trying to bring all of this together in a more cohesive way: not only will the translations function to offer international developers a chance to port their apps to English speakers, but also to give English-language apps a crack at the new international markets where the App Center is rolling out in the coming weeks.
In a blog post, Facebook App Center exec Drew Hoskins notes that along with the ability to translate apps, there will also be more localization tools incorporated into the platform. Developers will be able to select a primary language or their app, but also secondary languages; when the app is accessed through the App Center in another country whose language has been flagged as “secondary” by the developer, the app will appear in that language. Hoskins notes that translated content will be reviewed before an app is listed in an App Center category to ensure that it meets the guidelines.
Hoskins says that apps that want first priority consideration for those new App Center stores must be submitted by Friday the 13th of July.
To date, Facebook says that 230 million people are playing games on Facebook every month; more than 130 games have more than 1 million monthly active users. There is also increasing traffic from iOS and Android apps into Facebook’s platform: 7 of the top 10 grossing iOS games, and 6 of the top 10 Android games, have integrated into Facebook, the company says.