There is Promise in Paper… A New App from Facebook

Mar 17, 2014
Jason Baumann


In the 98 blog posts prior to this one, we typically have stayed away from coverage of specific apps. Today, on our 99th post, we are going to talk about Paper by Facebook – a new app to improve the way you see your Facebook news feed. So sit back and enjoy. Tomorrow will be our 100th blog post and we have something very special planned for you. Make sure you come back see what is in store.

What is Paper? According to Facebook’s news room, Paper is “a new app that helps you explore and share stories from friends and the world around you.” But really what is it? Paper is an aesthetically pleasing way to see your Newsfeed. While it is not the Facebook app, it is an app by Facebook to see your newsfeed, so it is social.

Facebook has really never been known for its beauty. It is an amazing social networking platform that has changed the way people communicate and share their life story but it has never looked as good as many of its competitors. Even Google+, who I believe is Facebook’s biggest competitor in 2014, is much more pleasing to the eye. Not any more. Paper is very sharp looking and has some really cool features. It makes Facebook look beautiful.

Paper show people information by theme – very similar to StumbleUpon. The first section is your newsfeed, the others are different interests that you may have. You can actually customize what areas you are interest and view posts in these areas. Each section features a good mixture of content from both new brands and well-known publications. It is pretty cool.

Paper has taken a cue from Apple and really worked on navigation. Swipe up to open a category. Swipe down to close things. Swipe left or right to move through stories. It has really made navigated through so many stories quite simple.

Paper has also made it very easy to post and share as well. You can easily comment on existing stories in a very Facebook consistent manner and posting new content has been made very simple.

Finally, my favorite part of Paper is how it deals with pictures. If the picture doesn’t fit on the screen, as in panoramic shots, it let’s look at the truncated parts of the image by tilting your phone. It reminded me of a virtual reality view where as you turn you the image continues. I am not sure if my quick description does it justice. I think you should download the app just to check out this feature.

It will be interesting to see if this app takes off. Facebook is behind it but hasn’t visibly been pushing it very hard. I downloaded it last week and plan to keep it on my iPhone. As of right now, it is only available on iPhones. It is the first product of Facebook Creative Labs, Facebook’s new app development project. It will be interesting to see if it will be released for different operating systems. It will also be interesting to see how Facebook will incorporate advertising into the sections. We shall see.

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