“A small team has been working on a big idea. Join us for coffee and learn about a new product,” said the invitations, sent by snail mail.
Facebook has invited the press over to its Menlo Park headquarters in California on June 20th, where it will unveil a new product, and the rumors suggest it is a new RSS reader.
Scottish blogger Tom Waddinton who also maintains crafting and home art website Cut Out + Keep, blogged Thursday that he spotted something new in Facebook’s code base said, “A new entry appeared – now users have RSS feeds, each RSS feed has multiple entries, and a list of subscribers. What’s surprising is that the code mentions RSS specifically and distinctly from existing interest lists and friend lists. Also, note that this is unconnected to Facebook outputting RSS feeds, which they’ve done for a while.” Waddington said he tried to access the RSS feeds, but that they were blocked for average users.
In March, Facebook’s inventor Mark Zuckerberg said: “We want more than a single feed of content. We want to give everyone in the world the best newspaper we can. It should have high-quality public content and socially relevant content, and to drill into any topic.”
TechCrunch speculated that this “new product” could likely be a news reader — figuring that since Google Reader will be no more, this leaves a void in that market. With the hashtag announcement earlier this week, this reader seems like a likely move for Facebook.
“We’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations,” Facebook’s Greg Lindley wrote on Facebook’s blog this week. However, Facebook did not hold an event this week for the hashtag release.
The answer, it seems, may be concealed inside a series of exclusive, snail-mail invitations that Facebook recently sent out for a June 20 press event. According to an article posted Saturday by British tech publication The Register, the invitation leaves much room for speculation, merely stating that “A small team has been working on a big idea,” and that invitees should “Join us for a coffee and learn about a new product.” For all the invitation gives away, that “product” could be anything.
The Google Reader, despite its now-discontinued status, appeared to be a fairly stalwart fixture within the professional world, with many aggregate news sites and industry analysts using it as a go-to tool for accessing and reading RSS feeds. Google’s decision to close down the project left many users out in the cold, resulting in a behemoth, 150,000 signature petition and a fair amount of Internet uproar. However, now that it seems that Google will remain undaunted by the petition, those users will need to find a new RSS reader, and Facebook, considering its Internet notability and still-growing status, could be a good candidate.
Whatever it is that Facebook has up its sleeve; ABC News will be covering the event on June 20. In the meantime, tell us what you might want to see Facebook announce in the comments.
By: Forrest L. Rawls