Facebook is clear about the future of its platform: Third-party apps are the key to attracting and keeping users inside of its ecosystem.

In yet another huge stride toward bolstering its app platform, the company Wednesday announced plans for its own central app hub inside Facebook itself, making it easier for users to discover Facebook-integrated apps, as well as easier for developers to submit and feature their apps on Facebook itself.

Until now, users had a handful of ways of discovering apps through Facebook -- the company touted "social discovery" as its strong suit, as users were encouraged to find apps through their news feed. The idea is, you will find the apps that are most relevant because they are the ones your friends use. They will surface in your newsfeed, and you will pick the ones you like while ignoring the ones you do not care about.


So this is somewhat different. To be clear, it is not exactly a proper "App Store" competitor to take on the likes of Apple or Google's respective hubs. It is more of a centralized location so that everyone -- users and developers alike -- knows where to go to find Facebook apps. And those that did not exist before.

But the social discovery part still plays a huge factor. The apps that show up when you visit the App Center will be those that Facebook finds most relevant to you -- that is, ones your friends are using, or ones that are scoring particularly high on Facebook's own internal ratings system that judges just what apps should show up.

"Success through the App Center is tied to the quality of an app," wrote Facebook employee Aaron Brady in a blog post. "We use a variety of signals, such as user ratings and engagement, to determine if an app is listed in the App Center."

It is also another potential revenue stream insofar as splitting the cash on paid apps and in-app purchases. And more app use, of course, means more engagement within the Facebook platform. That means more ads. And with the wealth of new data Facebook will receive by looking at the apps its subscribers are using, it also means better targeted ads.

Read more about Facebook's plans for the future at AllThingsDigital.com.