RUMOR: Facebook Browser in the Works (FB)

Posted by · May 25, 2012 1:53 pm

Opera, Facebook browserYes, another Facebook story. I know, I’m sick of them too. But they’re just so hard to ignore! The latest news comes from a Friday report released by tech site Pocket-lint (yes, Pocket-lint), in which one of their “trusted sources” suggests that a Facebook browser may be a top priority project for the social network.

The rumor gained traction after the site gained word that Facebook is looking to buy Opera Software, the creators of the Opera web browser.

“According to our man in the know, the company could be about to expand into the browser space to take on the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla and now even Yahoo,” the site’s Stuart Miles writes.

(Read the report on Yahoo’s first stab at the browser business here.)

Such a move by Facebook doesn’t seem that implausible, especially given the site’s continued struggle to instill confidence in Wall Street investors. Given the $16 billion in funds Facebook was able to raise in its prolonged lead-up to its initial public offering, this might not be a bad place to start making itself more appealing. And if this Facebook browser venture includes not only desktop, but tablet and mobile versions as well, this could go a long way to repair its shaky still sub-par mobile experience.

Although it presence is often overshadowed by the likes of Chrome, Firefox, and IE, Miles points out that Facebook wouldn’t necessarily be starting from square one by purchasing Opera—at least not as far as mobile is concerned. “Opera has a very good mobile browser, which has seen strong growth in the two years it has been available,” he observes. “And Facebook’s buying the company would save it [from] having to build a browser from scratch.”

It wouldn’t be hurting for initial users either, as Opera boasts nearly 200 million users across its various versions.

Whether such a move would “send shivers of panic through Google,” however, seems a little premature. I mean, the price of a share of Google (GOOG) is only roughly twenty times that of Facebook (FB), but I’d say the folks in Mountain View can probably rest easy for now.

Until then, Facebook’s sole focus should be on the only one that threatens to completely shatter all dreams of future success: Facebook.

(CHART: Facebook Has The Worst IPO Of The Decade)

What do you think? Is the rumor true? If so, will a browser help rescue a drowning Facebook?

For more on the Facebook browser rumor and other browser news…