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Facebook app center launched to compete with Apple, Google

Developers will also be given the option to charge a one-time fee for their apps.

Facebook app center 2012 05 10Enlarge
Facebook unveiled plans on May 10, 2012, for an online App Center, much like Apple and Google, that will give consumers a hub for finding games and other apps on the social network. (Screengrab)

Facebook unveiled plans Thursday for an online App Center, much like Apple and Google, that will give consumers a hub for finding games and other apps on the social network.

The center, which will launch in the next few weeks, comes as Facebook is preparing an initial public offering that would value the company between $77 billion and $96 billion, according to Reuters.

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It will be available on the Web and on Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems. It will also feature paid apps for the first time, CNN reported.

"Many developers have been successful with in-app purchases, but to support more types of apps on Facebook.com, we will give developers the option to offer paid apps. This is a simple-to-implement payment feature that lets people pay a flat fee to use an app on Facebook.com," Facebook's Aaron Brady wrote on the site's page for developers.

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Facebook currently makes about 15 percent of its money through payments in games and other apps. Zynga, owners of FarmVille, Draw Something and other successful games, are responsible for the majority of those payments. Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of the payments, according to CNN.

While meant as competition, the App Center won't necessarily pose a major threat to Apple and Google -- at least not yet.

The social network said it would redirect users to the App Store or Google Play, if Facebook-compatible apps need to be downloaded directly to the respective devices, CBS News reported.

Reactions in the tech blogosphere were initially positive, with Time's Matt Peckham calling the new service a win for consumers as well as developers.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/technology/120510/facebook-app-center-launched