Is Facebook Reinventing Itself With Its Fresh News Reader ‘Paper’ App?

By: Sofie De Beule

January 30, 2014

Tags:
app
iOS
iPhone
Mark Zuckerberg
mobile users
storytelling
swiping
the verge

Facebook just announced a new standalone iPhone app called Paper, which will be available February 3rd (the day before Facebook’s 10th birthday). The new feature coincides with CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s, announcement to introduce “new and engaging types of mobile experiences”.

The app reinterprets Facebook’s characteristics, and completely focuses on storytelling. Paper offers most features people use on the standard Facebook app, and according to The Verge, it’s much better because “you may never want to open the other one again”.

Facebook has clearly done some thorough rethinking on how to better serve their mobile users. Paper uses the standard Facebook News Feeds and recreates it as a horizontally scrolling set of screens. The styling of the app looks really promising, and it will be available for iPhone in the US.

Like the typical mobile news reading app, Paper gets rid off all buttons and uses basic gestures like swiping and tilting your phone. News stories will be presented in media cards reminiscent of Twitter. In the beginning, it can be pretty disorienting with the lack of guidance to navigate you through all the steps. However, this app promises to be much faster and more full-featured.

Facebook’s Creative Labs Team, a unit within the company responsible only for innovation and building new things in a startup kind of way, clearly put a lot of creative effort into this new app. It’s obvious Facebook wants another spot on your iPhone’s home screen, and more apps will be created by the team in the future.

It feels like Facebook is reinventing itself on mobile as Paper creates the opportunity for Facebook to “surprise” like a newspaper. Friends can act as curators on the web, however, not everyone has friends who share content on interesting topics. Paper could deliver news items on food, for example, without having to track down specific Pages to Like.