Could this be the next AOL? Facebook has just acquired Push Pop Press, creator of Al Gore’s Our Choice eBook app.

The financial details haven’t been disclosed, but PPP did say that “we’re taking our publishing technology and everything we’ve learned and are setting off to help design the world’s largest book, Facebook.” PPP will be getting out of the eBook  making business and  will be focusing its efforts on internal Facebook development.

Most stories about this deal won’t look beyond today’s news, but I’m more interested in how this is going to change things in the future. And that’s why I bring up AOL.

As time goes on, Facebook begins to look more and more like AOL did during its peak. AOL might be a media company now, but in the past it was a portal. Back when the Internet was difficult to navigate, AOL offered a cleaner, friendlier,and more controlled environment.

That would seem to be what Facebook is trying to become. It has games, retail sites, email/IM/texting services, and it even launched a video chat.  Now it looks like Facebook is going to use PPP to write a narrative that draws all these parts together.

But the problem with trying to be a portal is that the idea peaked 10 years ago. That’s why AOL stopped doing it, and moved on to other business strategies. Can Facebook be successful with an idea whose time has come and gone?

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