June 24, 2013
Facebook Expected To Release Mobile News Reader
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The Wall Street Journal wrote this weekend that Facebook is planning to release a mobile news reader in the vein of Flipboard or Zite. This new project is expected to drive even more mobile traffic towards Facebook as well as generate more ad revenue for the social behemoth.
Earlier this year Google announced that they were shutting down one of their more popular services, Google Reader, an RSS aggregator. Many other news readers rushed to fill the void left by Google Reader, but it is unlikely that Facebook’s alleged “Reader” has the same goal.
During their March unveiling of a newly redesigned news feed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed he wanted his site to be "the best personalized newspaper in the world."
The Journal also claims Facebook has been working on their news reader for more than a year as an extension of their goal to get more people using the social service on their mobile devices. If this is the case, the new reader feature would belong better in the ranks of Facebook’s “Poke,” “Camera,” and “Home ” – apps only available on mobile devices.
When Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg took the stage at this year’s All Things D conference, she claimed they were making 30 percent of their revenue from mobile activity. When the company first went public last year, they weren’t receiving any mobile revenue. As of last month, people were spending one out of every seven minutes on a desktop PC on Facebook and one out of every 15 minutes on the site from their mobile devices. Facebook has been working hard to leverage to their favor by selling mobile ads. “Now, we can do it all day, because you’re checking Facebook on your phone all day,” said Sandberg.
Facebook’s most deliberate attempt to encourage users to switch to mobile is their “Home” suite of apps, an Android-only affair which places a Facebook wrapper around the phone’s user interface and deeply integrates services like Messenger and News Feed. The more of Facebook’s one billion plus users who access the site from a mobile service, the more potential eyeballs the company can promise to advertisers. Their new reader, then, will almost certainly be another avenue with which to deliver these ads.
Like Feedly, Flipboard, Zite or any of the other various news aggregators, Facebook’s reader is expected to collect the stories from a user’s news feed and display them in one location. When the social giant announced the newly refreshed news feed in March, they emphasized the new way in which stories are displayed with larger pictures and even more text to get readers to click the link. These clicks could likely be a boon for Facebook ads as well as content providers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other websites.
The Journal also writes that while Zuckerberg has been pushing his company to introduce new features and introduce them quickly, they’re taking their time with this new project. Zuckerberg is also rumored to have taken special interest in Reader, giving feedback on its progress and reviewing the look and feel of the iOS app. The rumored goal is to have a singular experience on iPads and iPhones alike as it drives more traffic towards Facebook’s mobile platforms.