Feeds

Facebook RSS reader said to uncloak June 20

Secret event scooped by Scottish developer?

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Facebook has sent out invitations for a press event on June 20, and it's widely rumored to be the announcement of a new RSS reader aimed at scooping up disaffected Google Reader users.

In March, Google announced it was going to shut down the Reader system on July 1, saying that the number of users had declined over the years and that the Chocolate Factory wanted to focus on new creations.

That news didn't go down well with users, sparking the now-traditional Downfall parody, a 150,000+ signature petition, and a mass migration to other services.

Fading news aggregation site Digg has already announced it will build its own RSS system to support those Google users who don't fancy any of the other myriad of readers out there (and try and get Digg some traction again with internet users). Now Facebook has set out a mysterious invite (by snail mail no less – how retro) for the event.

The dead-tree invitation features a printed coffee cup stain ring and the words "A small team has been working on a big idea. Join us for coffee and learn about a new product." No other details have been released, but a Scottish developer may have spotted an important clue as to the purpose of the mysterious announcement.

Tom Waddington, who also maintains the home arts and crafts website Cut Out + Keep with his fiancé Cat Morley, blogged on Thursday that he'd spotted something unusual in Facebook's code base.

"A new entry appeared – now users have RSS feeds, each RSS feed has multiple entries, and a list of subscribers," he wrote.

"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."

Possible Facebook RSS code

A Facebook RSS footprint?

Waddington said that he'd tried to access the RSS feeds by means of the API, but it was locked down and only available to whitelisted applications at the present time.

If Facebook does have a new RSS reader, the move would fit in with the company's strategy of trying to become the go-to place for internet users looking to know what is going on in the world, a strategy Mark Zuckerberg pointed to at the March launch of Facebook's revamped news feed.

"We want more than a single feed of content," the behoodied one said at the time. "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." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.