The social network has been quietly working on a service, internally called Reader, that displays content from Facebook users and publishers in a new visual format tailored for mobile devices, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Reader is reportedly in development for over a year now, so it’s not exactly Facebook’s response to Google Reader’s imminent shutdown, which was announced just last March.
Rather, as can be easily gathered from its description above, Reader is set to be Facebook’s answer to the highly rated social news reader Flipboard.
Apparently, Facebook is looking to duplicate the success of yet another popular app. If you’ll recall, it tried to jump on the Snapchat bandwagon with the release of Facebook Poke last December, but to little avail.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself is said to be closely overseeing the development of Reader, which may very well be part of his goal of making Facebook “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”
According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, the team behind the Reader project is focused on developing the project for iOS, with no word on whether it’s expected to be released in other platforms, including Android and the Web.
In addition, former Apple employee Mike Matas is said to be a lead designer of the project.
If and when Facebook releases Reader, it will be facing stiff competition from Flipboard, which now has over 50 million users, and other popular social news aggregation apps.
These include the 30-million user strong Pulse, which was acquired last April by professional social network LinkedIn in a bid to become “the definitive professional publishing platform.”