Facebook will release a new standalone iPhone reader app called Paper in the US on February 3rd, the day before Facebook’s 10th birthday. Paper is the first app out of Facebook Creative Labs, an initiative to let small teams within Facebook to build standalone mobile experiences.
The Facebook team hope the new Facebook application will become a version of a modern age’s newspaper and aims to convince the iPhone user to spend more time using Facebook on their device by engaging users with their design-rich visual news reader.
Unlike Facebook’s existing smartphone application which is purely a functional app, Paper looks attractive and easy to navigate. It will consist of the existing Facebook news feed and a news reader app, with both status updates from friends and news stories. However, the the app shuns buttons and menus instead uses simple swiping gestures to navigate the app.
How it Works
There are sections in Paper, including your news feed and the new reader, which are built around a main cover photo, with a small selection of cards at the bottom to browse through, one at a time.
Another improvement to the current Facebook app is that the Paper app will encourage you to consume content from outside of Facebook without leaving Paper. This will be accomplished by choosing categories of online media you would like to see in addition to your usual news feed items. Each of those categories, such as food, film and entertainment, travel, photography, and sports can be flipped through like a virtual magazine.
Paper will allow you to add “sections” to “your own Paper”. For example, you can add sections including “Score” (sports), “Headlines” (world news), “Cute” (BuzzFeed-style adorable animals), “Planet” (sustainability and earth porn), “Enterprise” (business), “Exposure” (photography), “Flavor” (food), and “Ideas” (a different intellectual theme each day).
Paper also lets you share your own stories by giving you a preview of how your story will appear to your Facebook friends, so there’s no wondering what photo will be featured or if an article’s blurb will be cut off like when you share using Facebook on the web or mobile.
The Paper team who built the app consisted of fifteen specialists who spent more than a year building the app so it will be interesting to see how it will be received by iPhone users and will be an improvement on its predecessor.