A Friday Pocket-lint report cites a “trusted source” that Facebook wants to buy Opera Software — manufacturers of the Opera web browser, which claims more than 200 million users worldwide. The Facebook browser would include default menu bar plugins, further permeating Facebook into users’ general web experience, according to the report.
A Facebook spokesperson declined Mashable‘s request for comment.
A custom browser would be a significant step toward Facebook becoming your web, as opposed to just an Internet site you visit and service you use. Opera’s mobile browser has received strong reviews online, meaning a functional Facebook browser using it could be even more powerful. Facebook has struggled to penetrate mobile use as deeply as many think it should be able to — and will need to in order to sustain long-term growth.
A Facebook browser would also bolster the newly public company’s competition with Google. Google Chrome recently became the web’s most-used browser, but Facebook’s gigantic user base of more than 900 million people would present a potential serious threat down the line. It would be interesting to see Facebook try to battle Google for browser dominance as Google+ struggles to play catchup in social networking.
We’ll see if the Opera rumors are true, but if Pocket-lint‘s “man in the know” is even remotely hooked in, it’s not hard to imagine the arrival of a Facebook browser being only a matter of time.
How could a Facebook browser help the company take over the web — or can it? Share your perspective in the comments.