It’s entirely unclear what Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is about to try, but it must be something big. Media outlets across the country have been getting invites — via snail mail — about an event at its Menlo Park offices next week. The cryptic message inside the envelope only guaranteed coffee and “a new product.”
Reporters at ABC News received an invitation in their pile of mail on Friday and revealed the message was impossibly brief and vague. “A small team has been working on a big idea. Join us for coffee and learn about a new product,” it reads. The likeness of a circular stain from a coffee mug decorates the invite. Facebook is hosting the launch this coming Thursday at its headquarters in California.
While the invitation will cause a great deal of speculation (the obvious intention of Facebook with the invite), no hints have been leaked to the media about where the company is headed. The company had offered some news earlier in the week about a new hashtag feature. Instead of being lost in the shuffle, users of the social media site can follow trending topics by clicking on the hashtag, which will in turn link to content surrounding it. That was Facebook doing Twitter, so chances are the “new” product would be a little more original.
Facebook is all about getting people talking, which leads to more sharing, which leads to more opportunities for advertising. According to eMarketer estimates, mobile ads will be a $2 billion business for the company this year, so there’s only more reason to look into condensed Twitter-like features for its mobile site. Greg Lindley discussed the topic of extending conversations in a blog post titled, “Public Conversations.”
“We will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics,” Lindley wrote in Wednesday’s post. The first of these was the hashtag feature. Does Facebook have something bigger and better up its sleeve? Barring any leaks, we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out.
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