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Facebook is Developing a New Web Browser, App Store (But Not For Android)

facebookFacebook is best known as a social network but the platform is much more complex than that.

Over the past couple weeks two different new projects have come to light which reveal a few details about Facebook’s inner workings.

First up is a bewildering report that Facebook is working on its own Android app store:

Facebook is poised to join the ranks of Apple, Google and Microsoft as it is allegedly working on its very own app store.

Why? It’s the company’s worst-case scenario plan in the event it becomes embroiled in a serious dispute with Google that would result in its Android app getting kicked out of the Play Store.

That doesn’t really make sense, because FB wouldn’t need a whole app store to support and distribute its handful of apps. And that’s why I am betting this has less to do with Android and more to do with an internal project.

I don’t know how many caught this, but Facebook does have its own internal apps platform. Have you ever played a game on Facebook? Those games are just one type of "app" that you can access inside Facebook, and they are downloaded from the "Facebook App Center".

Dollars to donuts the rumored app store will prove to be a marketplace where developers can sell apps to users and businesses to be used on Facebook.  You might buy an app that will let you build a storefront, etc.

This is pure speculation, but it just makes more sense to me than the possibility that Facebook would launch an Android app store.

That would be like hearing about Facebook’s new web browser and assuming the social network was planning to release a stand-alone web browser rather than one used inside the FB app.

Speaking of which, Facebook is beta testing a new web browser. A few users are seeing it, and they’ve posted screenshots. Here’s the old and new web browsers for a side by side comparison:

The new browser has an address bar, making it more useful to users who just want to pop over to a page real quick, and back/forward buttons. It also has a bar across the bottom that tells us how popular the page is on FB, lets you bookmark a page, or open a menu which likely includes a few more features too (no clue what it contains, sorry).

Facebook has been testing the page since at least early December, but it’s still limited to only a few iOS users. We can probably expect a wider roll out early this year.

image by Johan Larsson

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