Facebook will reportedly launch a Flipboard-like news reading feature later this month either as a standalone application for mobile devices or as a “web experience” optimized for mobile devices, people familiar with the matter have told Re/code. Apparently known as “Paper,” and part of a bigger “Project Reader,” the news reader app would offer users quick access to various publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others, as well as status updates from friends, “all in a visually stunning ‘paper-like’ format.”
Project Reader began a few years ago, but was split into multiple products down the road including the March refresh of Facebook’s News Feed but also Paper. The latter is said to incorporate digital book publishing technology that Facebook got in 2011 when it acquired user interface designer Mike Matas’ Push Pop Press, with Matas actively involved in developing paper.
While Facebook vice president Chris Cox, who is overseeing Project Reader, reportedly wants to “create a type of Facebook experience that people enjoy waking up to and scanning each morning,” Paper could also help out in the future raise user engagement and advertising revenue. On that note, Facebook has recently started rolling out an auto-playing video ads News Feed feature.
It’s no surprise though that Facebook wants to know what its users want to read in the mornings, and deliver appropriate content sprinkled with the occasional ad and updates from friends, as recent research has revealed the company is really interested in what makes users tick. The company is reportedly storing all written messages inside Facebook, regardless of whether users send them to others, or post them online, to better understand its audience. Furthermore, the company has been hit with at least two suits recently, which say that the social network is allegedly accessing private messages between Facebook users and even counting likes for pages shared that way.