What makes a Facebook application good? The social network is going to try to make that clearer to users in the next few weeks, when it introduces a program it’s been talking about since last year, called Verified Apps. It will also shortly launch a revised application directory, a new application profile page and a new homepage stream of activity about any app you use.

The program, to review, involves an application process where Facebook reviews various criteria it has set, such as how the app takes advantage of viral channels like invites and notifications. Facebook gives verified apps a badge and special treatment on the site. The intention is two-fold: to show users what apps are most worth their time, in Facebook’s opinion, and to encourage developers to build apps that fit Facebook’s definition of quality.

Facebook first announced the program last July. Then it revealed more details and began taking submissions last November, as we covered:

Apps apply to be in the program, and are judged based on the company’s trustworthiness criteria, which include being “Secure,” “Respectful,” and “Transparent.” Verified developers will get a series of benefits, the company tells me. On the product side, these include the ability for an app to let users send more invites and notification to friends, and greater prominence of app activity in news feeds. Developers will also be able to put a “Verified App” badge on their apps, and in the site-wide app directory. On the business end, they’ll get a discount on tickets to Facebook’s annual developer conference, and a $100 credit for purchasing ads on Facebook.

Judging by what the company is saying today, the new directory will explicitly make Verified Apps more prominent. Here’s more about this and other changes, from the company today:

Improved Categories: We designed the existing categories before Platform launched in 2007.  It’s time for a refreshed list that more accurately represents the diversity of social applications.

Updated application Profile Pages: We are updating application About Pages to look like public Profile Pages.  This includes the tabbed structure of the profile that will enable you to communicate to fans of your Profile Page in their News Feed, making it easier for you to send out updates on the latest application and community news, such as events, videos, and photos.

Visibility for Verified Apps: With the new Application Directory, you’ll also see the first of Facebook Platform’s Verified Apps. These apps will be prioritized higher in the directory and will appear alongside a green checkmark in the directory and a verified badge on the application’s new Profile Page.

Stream of Application Stories: On the homepage of the new directory, users will see a stream of stories that their friends are generating from applications.  This stream will expose applications in a socially-relevant way and help the millions of users who visit the Application Directory each month stay updated with their friends’ activity on Facebook. The stream serves as another channel for application discovery, allowing — for the first time — users to see what applications their friends use alongside editorial picks.

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