Facebook's competitor to Flipboard could launch in January
Facebook may finally launch its Flipboard competitor, dubbed "Paper", by the end of January, reports Recode. The launch follows years of experimentation and development of the project which is hoped will bring better news reading to users.
There's still a chance the timetable could change, according to the report, but right now it's looking like a standalone mobile application or web experience built for mobile displays that will launch this month. Paper will act like Flipboard, aggregating media content from mainstream publications such as CNN and the New York Times, while also adding status updates from Facebook into the mix.
The team behind Facebook's News Feed is working on the Paper product, and according to Recode, Paper actually began as a redesign of News Feed. It's been a project under the name Reader for several years. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report its existence in June of 2013, saying its aim is to bring Facebook users' own content into a new visual format along the lines of a newspaper, making it more interesting to read.
In November, Facebook experimented with a feature that allowed you to save links to a list for reading later. Upon tapping the bookmark button, the story link was placed in a “saved” menu that sat in the Facebook apps menu, similar to apps like Pocket and Instapaper. It's not clear if the saved links feature could find its way to Paper.
The hope is to create a newspaper-like interface for users. But for Facebook, it could mean a chance at more advertising dollars on mobile. The hard part for Facebook will be getting users to actually use the feature. Facebook has had flops in the mobile space before, including its Facebook Home app for Android.