The Washington Post has just released "Social Reader", an application that allows Facebook users read the newspaper through the site.
Developed and running on Facebook’s new Open Graph software, the "Social Reader" app offers users a personalized news reading experience. Front page stories pulled from The Post and content from the media companies partners are show-cased on the page for users to read.
Social Reader includes Post Co. brand content from Slate, Foreign Policy and The Root. The Washington Post's media partners' content includes the Associate Press, Reuters, GlobalPost, and Mashable.
The front page features major news stories displayed as summarized news blurbs with accompanying artwork. Application users can choose to view the article in full on Facebook if they so choose. Choosing this option will not redirect users to the source’s site.
A Facebook user's friends can then see what article they've previously read and that information becomes included in the Facebook ticker. The application also recommends additional related stories and gathers information on what stories fit the user's preference based on past activity.
For the last several months, Washington Post CEO Don Graham was in possession of a beta version of the Facebook program. Graham said it was "fascinating" to watch how the other beta users were utilizing the application. Most of the individuals who held those beta copies were experienced technologists. Graham read about the technology and admits to being twice as interested in reading stories on what else they were clicking on.
In a statement to The Huffington Post by phone from the f8 conference, he stated that “Seeing friends reading something has actually made me a lot more likely to read it. I’m a bit surprised by that.”
He also went on to say that “For me, I think in the future, good news sites -– and we’re going to be one –- are going to have a social element. And here’s the first chance to prove that. Here’s the first chance to develop something special. Here’s the first chance to see how important this is."
"Social Reader" was unveiled at Facebook’s f8 conference on Thursday and will soon make its way to the social media site.