Facebook today finally announced its own news and story-sharing app called Paper, which will work like Flipboard and help users to explore and share stories from friends and others. Facebook launched the app in phases and first launched it for the iPhone in the US on February 3, 2014.
It’s much more than just a news-reading app — it’s a complete reimagining of Facebook itself. The app allows users to access news articles or stories as well as photos and videos that a user’s friends have shared in their News Feeds. Also, it lets a user customize their Paper by choosing story types as per their interests and selecting themed sections and topics ranging from photography and food to design and other topics.
Facebook promises to display all of these including the photos in a photo-intensive layout. Paper cuts away virtually all buttons and other UI elements to make every status update, photo, and news story appear full-screen. Paper is the first app out of Facebook Creative Labs, an initiative to let small teams within Facebook build standalone mobile experiences as if they were nimble startups. For Paper, Facebook has also partnered with a number of publications which will help it fetch the articles and stories easily.
With Paper, Facebook hopes to solve the content discoverability problem that is currently plaguing its news feed, where users are not seeing meaningful content. For now, there will be no ads in Paper, but the Facebook team is considering how they could be naturally integrated.