Fresh off its roller coaster IPO and $1 billion Instagram acquisition, it's now come to our attention that Facebook might have plans to build its own browser (alà Google Chrome) based on Opera's Web browser. Talk about wanting to be an Internet conquistador!
The rumor on Facebook's possible Web browser ambitions comes from Pocket-lint:
A Facebook browser that would allow you keep up to date with your social life from in-built plug-ins and features on the menu bar could be on the cards. Pocket-lint has heard from one of its trusted sources that the social networking giant is looking to buy Opera Software, the company behind 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, who has recently launched its own browser.
The Next Web chimed in on the matter as well:
1) Opera Software management is talking to potential buyers right now.
Currently listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the company's leadership is said to consider becoming part of a larger privately-held or public company rather than trying to keep growing the business independently.
2) We're told that there's currently a hiring freeze at Opera, which is a surefire sign that something big is about to happen - or at least that Opera wants something big to happen.
Naturally, Facebook declined to comment on the rumor.
The thought of Facebook creating its own Web browser is not farfetched. Just as Google is a portal to the rest of the Web, Facebook is quickly following in its footsteps, but through the socialgraph. Facebook is to today's kids as Google was to us 10 years ago.
A Facebook Web browser could be the foundation that'll eventually lead to a real Facebook smartphone and mobile OS competitor. What with everybody predicting Facebook's death in five years, Facebook needs to be more than a one-hit wonder. There's no other way to own the Internet than to be the vehicle to the Internet.
The most recent data from Statcounter, tracker of Web browser traffic shows Opera is the fifth most-used Web browser, trailing Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
The chart says it all: