After years of experiments, scratch-offs and upgrades, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is apparently going to roll out a News Reading App designed and developed for mobile devices, or one could tag it as – ‘TheFlipboard Killer.
According to Mike Issac, former Sr. Editor of AllThingsD, who cited an unknown source acquainted with the matter, the app is regarded as ‘Paper’ and it is like Flipboard – a popular Smartphone and tablet centered news perusing application. Though, there is not much of an information available at this time, but Paper looks to be either a standalone versatile provision or a web experience suited to mobile devices, claims the source. There is no official launch date announced yet, but the launch could take place as soon as January end, however, the chances for delay can’t be ruled out at this moment.
There are various similitudes between Facebook’s Paper and Flipboard, claims a person close to the matter. Both the apps, basically, act as aggregators of rich media content, showing a mix of news stories from top production houses likes the Huffington Post or BusinessInsider, on top of status updates coming from Facebook clients — all in all, it carries an outwardly shocking paper-like style, something that resemble the pre-digital era when people used to consume information via traditional styled newspapers.
Paper is an outcome of a multi-year exertion from the group behind the highly popular and used Facebook News Feed section – a rich stream of ceaseless substances that streams down the middle of clients’ pages, occupied with a bag of announcements, imparted news stories and paid publicizing from Facebook advertisers. The complete development is regarded as ‘Project Reader’, also claimed by multiple sources, initiated by Facebook’s Vice President of Product, Chris Cox.
Facebook’s stronghold over nearly 1.2 billion internet users helps to roll out such vivacious projects. However, a constant growing migration of desktop users to mobile remains the challenge and the social giant is actively working to monetize its mobile traffic with the help of mobile centric apps, the likes of Paper. Recently, Facebook announced the upcoming ‘Death of Sponsored Stories’, the decision is being considered as an effort to boost NewsFeed Ads for advertisers. Boosting Page updates, mobile app promotion, Page engagement or increasing Likes for a page and all of these are inline with appearance on users’ NewsFeed.
But the challenge with Paper doesn’t end with the launch of the app. Nearly 40% of Facebook users comes from top five countries – USA, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico. None of these countries but the U.S.A. is known for great digital reading habits. In fact, Flipboard is yet to witness a sizable spike in reader acquisition. Countries like India, which is now the second largest country with 92 million users on Facebook, is going through a mobile revolution phase and people are most fascinated towards Smartphones and tablets than ever before. However, making them understand the true meaning of ‘Smartphone’ by leveraging upon mobile internet by far remains the biggest challenge.
Decisively, the biggest challenge for Facebook is to make users adopt and use Paper, actively. And, with the presence of many other similar products, the likes of LinkedIn Pulse, Google News Reader and other 3rd party independent apps, it seems to be an uphill task for Facebook – unless it deviously forces users to adopt the app like Google did with Google+.