Facebook may be developing a news ‘Reader’ app for mobile users

Facebook’s stock is well below its IPO price, and this has forced it to keep experimenting with mobile-centric ideas. After LinkedIn’s acquired Pulse news reader, Facebook has also jumped in the arena with the reports of a similar news reading app by the social network. This will take its presence beyond just a social network to something more akin to Twitter, which allows sharing news together with networking.

Facebook

Wall Street Journal’s Evelyn M. Rusli reports that Facebook is working on a project called ‘Reader’ for a good enough time now. It would provide content from Facebook as well as news sources in an aesthetic format. Flipboard, a news reader app, already allows its users to do that by signing into their Facebook and Twitter accounts and then displaying news feeds and social networking updates together in a single feed and uses flipping to jump from one article to another.

In the words of WSJ:

Mr. Zuckerberg is watching the Reader project closely, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said, and he has provided input and reviewed aspects of the design at various turns. The team has focused on creating a product experience that works on both tablets and Smartphones, the person added, and it has explored different ways to highlight news content to users, including showing public posts that are trending on the site.

The report adds that Michael Matas, the former Apple & Nest Labs employee, is the lead designer on Reader project. ‘Reader’ is expected to be a feature cum app that will run on Apple’s iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The concept, if completed to reality, would also allow Facebook to increase its revenue by targeting its advertisements to the mobile users effectively via this app.

According to the report, the recent versions of this app look more like Flipboard. Twitter and LinkedIn are way ahead of Facebook as they have already gone down this road and travelled pretty far. Even though this presents a wonderful opportunity, it is not going to be easy for Facebook to compete with the competitors, especially when Facebook is time and again criticized for their privacy policies. Users are bound to stay with Twitter, LinkedIn and Flipboard who have been building a rapport with their fans, unless Facebook presents something extraordinarily innovative and beautiful.

We will keep you updated with the rumors, so stay tuned to our blog and follow us on Google+, Facebook and Twitter for related news as and when they happen.

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Roger Dunning is a technology evangelist. He lives in New York with his wife and pet dog. You can find him 24×7 on the Internet.