Facebook's news app? Notify could be just round the corner

Following reported success with its Instant Articles product, Facebook could now be about to launch its Notify standalone news app.

A screenshot from Facebook's forthcoming Notify app. Image: The Awl

After months of speculation, Facebook could be ready to unveil its Notify news app as early as next week.

The Financial Times reported that Facebook's latest standalone app will launch with content from dozens of partners including Billboard, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central, Mashable, Vogue, and the Washington Post.

The app will become Facebook's latest weapon to win in mobile advertising, with the company's ongoing mobile transformation already bearing fruit and making it Google's most formidable rival in the space.

The FT notes that Facebook has built Notify following a positive response from publishers to its Instant Articles, which promises faster load times on mobile devices for articles embedded within the Facebook app.

Instant Articles arrived alongside Apple's push into news with Apple News on iOS 9 amid head-scratching within the online display ad industry about how to respond to ad blockers, which speed up access to content and prevent ads from taxing mobile-data quotas but pose a challenge for publishers.

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Google meanwhile recently kicked off its Accelerated Mobile Pages with 30 publishers, promising much the same as Facebook though on the open web.

Notify also follows Twitter's recent launch of Moments, through which its editors are teaming up with publishers to blend reports, tweets, and videos into stories.

At the same time, as the Financial Times points out, media consumption on mobile is rising at a much faster pace than advertising spending on mobile.

Speculation that Facebook was working on a dedicated news app surfaced in August. It later emerged the app would be called Notify, offering users a selection of "stations" and "providers" to choose from.

The version of the app reportedly shown to The Awl pushed notifications about breaking news through the Android and iOS notification interfaces.

Facebook yesterday reported that growth on mobile climbed 23 percent year on year to 1.39 billion users on a monthly basis.

Meanwhile, data from Parse.ly earlier this year showed Facebook referrals to major publishers overall had surpassed Google.

The social network has also had success with its other major separate app, Messenger, which it's beefing up with a new AI personal assistant M that Facebook recently started trialling.

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