SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook reportedly is working on a news reading app similar to Flipboard, as it looks to cash in on Google Reader's demise.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has been working on the project known internally as Reader for over a year, which means that the social network was planning the service before Google announced that it would shut down its identically named service.
Full details of the Facebook Reader service are still to be revealed, but it apparently will resemble Flipboard, aggregating stories from multiple sources and presenting them in a magazine style format. It apparently will arrive as an iOS and Android smartphone and tablet app first, rather than as an online service. It's unclear whether a web version is also in development.
There's no word on when Facebook is planning to announce the service, and there's a chance that the project might not reach the market.
As well as looking to lure Google Reader users following its shutdown in one week, much like Digg, the report suggests that Facebook is continuing its push into the mobile market to impress its investors. Most recently, the firm tried to do this with the launch of its Facebook Home custom Android user interface, but reports suggest that this hasn't gone down well with consumers.
While Facebook likely will struggle to compete with Flipboard, which already has around 50 million users, such a move could make sense for the social network. Rather than scrolling through their news feeds and leaving the app, Facebookers could use its news reading feature and spend more time browsing, enabling the firm to make more cash from ads.
Facebook said it does not comment on rumour or speculation. µ
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