Science and Tech


Is 'Paper' News-Reading App Actually A Better Facebook?

Facebook announced Paper, a news reader app, Thursday. It pulls content from your friends and traditional media with less clutter than Facebook's app.
Posted at 2:26 PM, Jan 30, 2014

​A new Facebook app announced Thursday is set to challenge Flipboard and other mobile news readers. But Paper might just compete against Facebook as well.

Check it out. Paper reimagines the Facebook news feed, presenting users with a clutter-free experience. On the main screen, you're presented with a cover photo and story cards along the bottom.

Users can swipe through the cards or go fullscreen with any post by dragging it up. (Via Facebook)

Pretty slick, right? Well, that’s why some media outlets agree on the esthetics.

The Verge goes as far as calling it a better Facebook. It may not replicated every feature of Facebook's main app, but it does fulfill the majority of people's needs. Simply put, it's much, much better.”

​And the app works similarly for news stories, only you flip it open like this other news reader app you might have heard of. (Via Facebook)

But unlike RSS readers, Facebook Paper doesn’t give you the option to subscribe to specific news sources. Rather, you can choose which sections you’d like to see. Each section is curated by editors at Facebook. (Via Facebook)

Giga Om says,For traditional publishers — who already see the giant social platform as a competitor in the relentless ongoing war for digital attention — this is yet another shot across the bow from a company that dwarfs most of them in both size and reach.”

Still, this app might not be the best news for Facebook either. Hear me out.

Facebook’s stock surged early Thursday after a fourth quarter earnings report revealed the company beat Wall Street’s expectations. That’s thanks in large part to the social network’s mobile ads, which now account for 53 percent of Facebook’s total ad revenue. (Via USA Today)

And you might have noticed, Paper doesn’t contain any ads. At least not yet. Mashable points out, It's likely that ads will be added once the company examines how users engage with the product.”

Facebook’s hope for the app is for it to exist on its own merits, rather than be an alternative Facebook. It wants Paper to be a new media consumption and publishing platform.  (Via Facebook)

The Wall Street Journal adds, “The move is part of Facebook’s long-term strategy to be more than just a popular app, or a destination on the Internet. Facebook wants to be the global hub of human communication, essential in the lives of its users.”

Paper delivers on a promise Mark Zuckerberg made in an earnings call. For 2014, he promised more standalone apps, like Facebook Camera, Facebook Messenger and the ever-forgettable Facebook Poke

Paper hits the app store Monday, but it will only be available to iPhone users for now. No word on an Android or tablet version yet.