Facebook To Launch Rival To Google News?

Facebook may be mulling over plans to build an online news service that will compete with Google News and Yahoo News after the social networking website's Journalist Program Manager published a rather interesting article on Harvard University's Nieman Journalist Lab.

The chap in question - Vadim Lavrusik - talks about the building blocks to consider when thinking about the structure of stories. At Facebook, Lavrusik - who used to work at Mashable - is responsible for helping journalists to "create new ways to tell stories".

In the article, Vadim articulates the conversation about future story formats from five different angles; Context, Social, Personalisation, Mobile and Participation.

The article is well worth reading since it gives an insight into the mind of Lavrusik and what might lie ahead for Facebook and its users when it comes to news production, distribution and consumption.

The more interesting bits though are in the comments section where Vadim painstakingly answered comments. Vadim replies to one commentator "If content is king, then distribution is queen," noting astutely that "If it's not being distributed, then who is being informed?"

In another post, he reckons that the current business model, which is powered by pageviews, doesn't support the equivalent of a private Wiki which would work like Google's Living Stories and that "there's a way to achieve this while still being able to keep the business incentives in mind".

Where does that leave us? Facebook already runs a service called "sponsored stories" which we understand is a growing revenue earner. Google News is a massive traffic generator for the search giant and it also sends a lot of traffic to other websites.

Facebook may therefore encourage its 750 million users to produce content and enrich it. It is interesting that Vadim used both stories and news in the article which hints at a hybrid content producing process.