Facebook has plans to become a newspaper for mobile phones, and is working on a service called Reader that will display content from Facebook users and publisher in a new format.
Speaking of the difficulties that await the company that now wants to venture into long-form reading, a Forrester analyst, Nate Elliot, said, “There are a lot of things people didn’t do on Facebook several years ago that they now do. But I imagine it’s going to be very hard to retrain consumers to see Facebook as a go-to hub for news.”
With the project in development for over a year now, recent versions of Reader, they say, resemble a smartphone and tablet app known as Flipboard, which allows users to accumulate articles from various sources and let’s them go through it in one place.
It also indicates a change in direction for Facebook, which was founded as a college social network but now wants to be a hub where users can follow the latest news as well as keep up with real-time events and conversations.
This was indicated by a redesign of the News Feed on Facebook recently, which included more content from publishers, and with Zuckerberg stating that he wanted Facebook to become the “best personalized newspaper in the world”.
With more and more people spending time with mobile devices, but only for brief periods of time, launching the Reader, which would involve users spending a lot of time on Facebook could open new streams of revenue in the form of advertising.
It’s probably also the reason why Zuckerberg is taking his time with Reader as opposed to the “move fast and break things” approach that his company is known for taking.