The standalone app PAPER a progeny of Facebook’s Creative Labs Unit is one of the earliest intended launches of 2014. Released on 3rd February 2014 a day before Facebook’s 10th year anniversary, the app became an instant hit on iTunes topping the charts reaching number 4 within hours of its release.
A Personalized Digital Newspaper – Reminiscent Of Flipboard, Pulse & Circa
With a beautifully rendered UX, the iPhone app is disciplined to give users an alternative by featuring a swift and aesthetic appeal similar to Flipboard. It lets users customize SECTIONS and the LAYOUT, filter them by category and choose their preferred news outlet based on personal interest
The sections include SCORE, HEADLINES, CUTE, PLANET, ENTERPRISE, EXPOSURE, FLAVOR and IDEAS. Each section features a dominating article curated by humans and algorithms. In layman terms these are stories posted by publications, users or bloggers handpicked tastefully by editors which you wouldn’t have been able to autonomously seek out.
Users can scroll horizontally to browse through content cards in sections featuring a cover photo vertically to see stories, photos, web links and videos along with a vertical content row. With a flick of thumb from the content cards, users can navigate and tap on the content that appeals those most to read it in full-screen mode. An origami style animation plays along the screen while the content is loading, a proof of myriad animation and transitions. A pinch on screen and it shrouds and takes you back to the news feed.
Paper – The Flagship of Social Networking?
The integration of notifications, timelines, groups, events and messaging keeps users from juggling between the paper and the traditional Facebook app. It also provides a preview of how updates will appear through the visually –focused composer. Apart from the usual likes, comments and shares users can also save remarkably rich content to view them later.
By facilitating a customized section, the paper app is ecstasy for those who savor social consumption of news or articles from across the web without the clutter of memes and superfluous status updates.
Paper can prove to be intellectually alluring to users who keep fleeing from Facebook to avoid the usual hullabaloo and muddles of junk that people post every day.
Despite the larger market share of Android that made Facebook Home widely popular, Paper is currently available in the US on iPhone only. An obvious implication behind treating them as second class users would be that developers make much more money developing for iOS. Facebook, for now has no plans to release Paper for Android or Windows phone. Another possible insinuation is that, will Paper be used as a massive advertising platform? For now, it can be said that Paper is a tip-off on what future apps will look like. With a suite of slicker and thoughtfully crafted ecosystem of standalone apps in 2014, Facebook and its subsidiaries are striving to make it more agreeable for users and keeping Facebook far-off from being a ghost town.