Published On: Thu, Feb 6th, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg Launches New Stand-alone Facebook News-reader App : Paper

At ten years old Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is now practically a teenager, and has that pimply look with its existing user interface to prove it.

To fix that, and in order to gradually drag its users into a much more sophisticated experience Facebook is just introducing something new, different and it seems really very good, according to the many tech reviews now trickling in from all over the place.


Facebook Paper – screenshots courtesy Facebook

It all entails further breaking out the Facebook experience into their various component parts. Already we had Instagram for sharing pictures, Messenger for chat and now Facebook brings Paper as a separate stand alone app, so far only for iOS, for digesting our appetite for news. Much like Flipboard to look at in fact, though “flipboard-lite” may be a better description of the substance behind it.

Flipboard has more features, Circa is smaller, and a full featured RSS reader Paper certainly is not.

But if a Facebook feed, with a dash of news to go with it every time you open it up, is what you want, their new app “Paper” is miles beyond the current core Facebook experience and perfect for mobile phones and tablets – exactly what Facebook wants to achieve as the world, and Facebook, has moved in the mobile direction.

Paper owes its very sophisticated look and feel to one man, Mike Matas who runs Facebook’s Creative Labs, whose job, together with his team, is to keep coming up with new ideas for apps for Facebook. Matas once designed software for the original iPhone, and then Facebook bought his company, Push Pop Press, in an “acquihire” two years ago.

Paper, is therefore dramatically different from the standard Facebook mobile application. Larry Magid, technology analyst for CBS News, CNET and Forbes represented very much the mainstream tech-news response when he put it this way, “Paper is a way to look at your news feed in a more graphical way, “ adding “Pictures from your friends and other posts that might interest you are still there, but now they’re more graphical, and you can flip from one to another, ”

Facebook’s objective is for Paper to eventually become the go-to news-reader of choice for its users, instead of Twitter, Google News, LinkedIn’s Pulse or Flipboard.

You can still create a post in Paper just as in Facebook proper, but with more available space to write it might well be easier to do. Sharing links to your Timeline remains straightforward as well, with plenty of sharing options.

Paper has now just launched in the iOS App Store, but in the US only for now, and it could eventually even become the default starting point for many Facebook users to interact moving forward, conceivably replacing entirely for some of them the current main Facebook app itself, of course for now only on mobile.

After reporting excellent fourth quarter financial results last week, and increasingly showing it “gets” mobile, shareholders have bid Facebook’s shares up 10% again just in the last few days. This gives the company now a market capitalization of US$154 billion. Not a bad tenth birthday present at all.

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