After becoming the virtual home of more than 1.1 billion users who spend long minutes browsing the news feed, commenting, uploading photos and videos, Facebook now aims even higher: to engage even more users by becoming a newspaper for mobile devices, reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to their sources, Facebook has been working more than a year on the service, internally called Reader. The project is closely watched by Mark Zuckerberg. Reader – a Flipboard-like service – is rumoured to display content from publishers and Facebook users in a visual format tailored for mobile devices.
The release date is still unclear, but it certainly sounds like a business scenario that aims to glue users to their mobile devices, to reading news and – of course – watching more ads. In other words, this could easily be part of Zuckerberg’s Facebook mobile monetization plan.
“The opportunity to own the place where people go for long-form reading is a very large opportunity, especially for advertising,” said Josh Elman, a venture capitalist at Greylock Partners who previously worked on products for Facebook and Twitter.
“There are a lot of things people didn’t do on Facebook several years ago that they now do,” said Nate Elliot, a Forrester analyst. “But I imagine it’s going to be very hard” to retrain consumers to see Facebook as a go-to hub for news.
The lead designer is Michael Matas, who was previously seen at Apple and next at Nest Labs. The design team faces several challenges, one of which is to keep users engaged on Facebook.
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