Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is silently working on becoming a newspaper for mobile devices. The internet giant is believed to be working on a service called Reader that shows content from users and publishers in a specific format made for mobile devices, says a report from WSJ by Evelyn M. Rusli, citing people familiar with the matter.
The social net worker has been working on the project for more than a year; the project mainly involves news content.
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About Facebook’s new service
Though it is still not certain when the company will be able to come up with the service, it shows that Facebook is toiling hard to make users spend more time on the mobile devices, to lure more advertisers.
The service also reflects that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which has more than 1.1 billion users, is working on restructuring its identity.
In 2004, when Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), the main idea was to build a platform where users can keep track and interact with friends and classmates. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been fulfilling the same objective since then, but of late the site is becoming a hub where users can find news and follow real-time events and conversations.
Also, such efforts are essential to revive the sagging stock price, which is still 35 percent lower to the initial-public-offering price.
Facebook services introduced earlier
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) introduced hashtags, this month, which is similar to that of rival Twitter Inc. The service allows users to locate public conversations based on words marked by the “#” sign.
In an event, earlier this year, Facebook launched a redesign of the news-feed portion with a more appealing display of content from news publishers. At the time of the launch, Mr. Zuckerberg said he wanted Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”
Won’t be easy
Other similar services available currently are Flipboard Inc., which is an app for smartphone and tablet, collecting content from many sources and allowing users to choose from the many articles. Reading apps like Flipboard have been gaining popularity. LinkedIn Corp, earlier this year, acquired Pulse for roughly $90 million. Pulse is also a news reader app.
A venture capitalist at Greylock Partners, Josh Elman said “The opportunity to own the place where people go for long-form reading is a very large opportunity, especially for advertising.”
However, the success in the news consumption segment won’t be easy for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as both Twitter and LinkedIn have been marketing their respective services aggressively; also Flipboard has more than 50 million users.