Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been developing a news reader app for mobile devices for more than a year, according the Wall Street Journal. Currently called Reader, the app will aggregate popular news articles into an easy-to-read format that is tailored to the interests of each user. Facebook hopes the Reader will help the company gain traction in a market currently dominated by “personal magazine” apps like Flipboard and Pulse.
The move makes sense for Facebook, which is looking for ways to keep users engaged on mobile devices. But considering Google decided to pull the plug on Google Reader -- a once-dominant force in the arena of news aggregation -- the question is whether or not Facebook’s Reader app will be successful.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Flipboard already had 50 million active users, and its recent redesign has been very well received. Facebook has also had trouble releasing its own version of popular apps. The Facebook Poke app, obviously inspired by the success of Snapchat, never really gained traction with users.
Mobile advertising accounted for 30 percent of Facebook’s revenue last quarter, and the number will probably increase. Facebook Home was on obvious move to further engage users on mobile devices, and the recent addition of video to Instagram does the same thing. Facebook Home, however, has also struggled to catch on.
Twitter, LinkedIn, CNN and Yahoo are all rumored to be working on their own news-aggregation apps as well. While Facebook could have an advantage with its huge base of active users, it does appear that the social network is running out of innovations.