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Is Facebook about to gazump Flipboard with Paper app?

SoftwareNews
by Jamie Hinks
, 15 Jan 2014News
Is Facebook about to gazump Flipboard with Paper app?

Facebook is ready to unleash its own mobile news offering in the coming weeks in the form of a service that will challenge Flipboard when released this month.

Related: New study: Facebook “dead and buried” among UK teens

The social networking giant’s offering will be known as “Paper”, a source familiar with the matter told Recode, and will be a standalone mobile app or a web experience that is suited to mobile devices.

Facebook Paper will act as an aggregator for rich media content and include a mix of stories that includes the latest headlines from traditional news sources like The Guardian and Daily Telegraph to status updates from Facebook, all displayed in a “paper-like” format, according to the source.

Paper is part of a wider project known as Project Reader that is designed to overhaul the site’s News Feed over a number years and is headed by Chris Cox, VP of product for Facebook.

Project Reader started off with the ambitious remit of completely redesigning the News Feed and has since been split into smaller pieces of which Paper is one of them. The original plan was to release Paper as part of Facebook’s March refresh of the News Feed but was halted when it wasn’t ready in time.

Paper is led by UI designer Mike Matas, according to two sources, and comes after Facebook bought his startup Push Pop Press back in 2011, which focused on digital book publishing software and it has a desire to incorporate this into its own products.

Facebook’s interest in creating its own version of Flipboard has been around for some time and the summer saw the Wall Street Journal speculating that its Reader product was being redesigned to resemble a likeness of its competitor’s app.

Related: Facebook begins video ad roll out

Back then it was reported the main aim of the app was to increase mobile engagement and ultimately increase the amount of people seeing its advertising, something that is unlikely to have changed since the summer.

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