'Something awesome' awaits Facebook users

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has said that the world's biggest social networking website will "launch something awesome" next week, the Daily Mail reported.

The announcement on Wednesday has led to speculation that the Internet giant will launch a new feature for mobile phones or tablets, such as the iPad.

Mr Zuckerberg said the new project had been developed at the 40-person Seattle office, Facebook's only major engineering centre outside of its headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

The Seattle office has made a mark on the company's mobile efforts, playing a central role in the development of Facebook's unified mobile site, which was unveiled in March.

A Facebook spokesman declined to provide further details on Mr Zuckerberg's announcement.

The world's largest Internet social network, with more than 500 million users, is increasingly challenging established online companies like Google and Yahoo for consumers' online time and advertising dollars.

According to Facebook, its mobile users are twice as active on the service than computer users.

"A trend is mobile�which means that instead of being just on a computer when you're at a computer, you're at a computer all the time," Mr Zuckerberg said.

Changing attitudes

"It means you can share more stuff and people's attitude towards sharing in society is changing."

"If you look back 30 years, I think people's attitude towards wanting to put something out there would've been different than it is today, where now every high school student, college student has the opportunity to have a blog, or a Facebook account, or a Twitter account."

"They can use those things to share things and that's much more of the norm now."

Speculation over what exactly the "awesome" thing is has reached fever pitch across the web.

The New York Times reported Facebook was preparing an app for the iPad, earlier this month - the first tablet app developed by the social network.

Others think it could be a platform that will go head-to-head with Apple's App store.

Technology blog TechCrunch spotted something called "Project Spartan" earlier this month.

According to the blog, Spartan is designed to be an HTML5-based competitor to Apple's App Store, and will work in mobile Safari.

Or perhaps it's an integration with either Skype or Netflix?

Others believe it could be the Facebook photo sharing app for the iPhone, which was recently leaked.

Or perhaps it's none of the above, and Zuckerberg will announce something just as "awesome" and totally unexpected.

This article was first published in The New Paper.