Facebook reportedly working on Flipboard-style reader for iOS

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According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been quietly working on a new service for the past year that displays content from users and publishers in a format, tailored for mobile devices, similar to Flipboard.

We’ve seen a number of new products this year from Zuckerberg’s team, as the company continues to try and evolve from being ‘just a social networking service.’ There was the search graph, then Facebook Home, and now there’s Reader…

‘Reader,’ per the report, is what the project is being called internally. And word has it that Michael Matas, a Facebook designer who previously worked for Apple and smart-thermostat maker Nest Labs, is a lead designer for the team.

Here’s The Journal’s Evelyn M. Rusli:

“Facebook Inc. FB +2.64% is aiming to become a newspaper for mobile devices. 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.

The project, which the company has been developing for more than a year, is designed to showcase news content in particular. Recent versions of Reader resemble Flipboard Inc., a smartphone and tablet app that aggregates stories from multiple sources and lets users swipe to flip through articles, said the people with knowledge of the project.”

Why is Facebook working on a Flipboard-like reader? Easy. It’s finding that most of its mobile users are skimming their timelines and then leaving the app. And it’s hoping that a more immersive experience will lead to better ad deals.

It’s unclear when, or if, Facebook will unveil the project, but comments from Zuckerberg about wanting FB to be the ‘best personalized newspaper in the world’ suggest it’s taking it seriously. As of now, they’re focused on the iOS platform.

“The team has thus far focused its efforts on building for Apple Inc.’s AAPL -0.80%mobile operating system to take advantage of the design elements of the iPad and iPhone devices, according to the people familiar with the project.”

I don’t use Facebook much, but I’d like to see what this Reader thing is all about. The report mentions something about a ‘trending topics’-type feature, which I think could be particularly interesting considering its 1 billion+ user base.

What do you think about the idea?