Recently MS posted a new blog entry at the Windows Store for developers website that went into a few new details about how apps discovery works for users of Windows 8. According to a program manager on the Store Services team, Russell Wolf, there are many new features that developers have access to that will allow them to improve the visibility of their apps on the web.
First off, all Windows 8 Metro apps receive a web listing automatically when they are added to the store, this listing is created for all markets and languages that the app is offered in. The purpose is to create a link that easy to connect developer sites to on the web.
On these auto-generated pages, Windows 8 users that arrive there from the web will see a “View in Windows Store” button that will directly take them to the store and Metro so they can easily install the app.
At the moment this supported feature only exists on IE, Firefox and Safari, but other major browsers like Chrome will likely follow suite rather quickly I’d imagine.
So what do these auto-listing pages contain on them? Basic information regarding the app, screen-shots, user ratings, and any information that the developer added during the submission process.
So this is good news for both the developers, that can link to their app listing from their own websites, but it also means that it won’t be too difficult for Windows 8 users to find Metro apps while in the ‘wild’ (outside the store). Of course Microsoft will only officially allow Metro app installation through their store, though I wouldn’t be surprised if 3rd party app stores and a jail-breaks arrive down the road.
While I’m glad that MS confirmed they would create listings pages that allow developers to easily link to Store downloads directly from the web, it was pretty much expected. All marketplace-based operating systems offer something like this. It would have been incredibly foolish if the only way to look at and be directed to Store downloads was from the store itself.
The bigger question for those used to more open download models on Windows, do you like the idea of apps being locked down and limited to just the store? Or do you think they should be more open to 3rd party app stores?
Personally, I think a locked down policy makes a good deal of sense, after all you can still get traditional x86 applications from 3rd party sources. Keeping Metro simple and safe is of utmost importance if they really want to position themselves against other tablet offerings.
What is your take on the app store and its more locked-down nature (when compared to traditional Windows applications)?