Is Facebook gearing up to launch its own news reader?

Is Facebook getting close to launching its own mobile news-reading app?

The prospect has been rumored for some time, especially after a rival Internet giant, Google, disappointed many loyal fans by moving to kill its Reader service last year.  Since then, those fans have migrated to a host of other services including Feedly, Flipboard and Pulse, which help Internet users collect and read articles and blog posts from a variety of sources.

Now the tech blog re/code is reporting that Facebook is about to announce a new service called “Paper,”  which blogger Mike Isaac describes as similar to Flipboard, a popular mobile app that’s designed to take advantage of the digital tablet format.  Facebook hasn’t confirmed any plans, but the usually well-sourced Isaac reports that – like Flipboard – Paper will collect articles and updates from a variety of online news sources, including newspaper websites and blogs, and present them in a visually striking, magazine-style display.

While it seems Paper would be a stand-alone app, it’s not exactly clear how it fits into Facebook’s larger strategy.  But as we’ve noted before, Mark Zuckerberg has said several times that he’d like Facebook to be more like a personalized hometown newspaper. Other major online sites are pursuing the same goal: LinkedIn bought Pulse, a similar reading service, while Yahoo unveiled a News Digest app for iPhones last week.

(Photo of Facebok sign by Kirstina Sangsahachart/Bay Area News Group)

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (350 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.