This morning Facebook announced its “Paper” app, which combines news from established sources and feeds from your friends. It has Flipboard-like page-turning functionality and seeks to enable users to “tell beautiful stories” to one another.
The project is from Facebook’s app-development team, Facebook Creative Labs. It’s said to be the pet project of Facebook VP Chis Cox. It’s also part of Facebook’s new strategy to develop a range of “stand alone” mobile apps, of which Instagram and Messenger are two others.
Yesterday Facebook reported that 53 percent of its Q4 ad revenue was generated from mobile devices.
Facebook has long used the metaphor of a newspaper to describe or think about the function of its News Feed. This new app more fully realizes that vision and offers a much more “immersive” experience than Facebook’s app. In this regard it reminds me a great deal of Facebook’s ill-fated Home app.
It will be available to US iPhone users on February 3. We haven’t yet had an opportunity to go “hands on” and will write in more detail about the experience and outlook for the app when it goes live in the App Store.
If the app catches fire one question is whether it will “cannibalize” Facebook’s flagship app. Apparently you can equally create and read all the content on Paper you could in the main app.
If Paper is visually and functionally more successful — as some have already argued — it may become a replacement for the main Facebook app. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Facebook, although there won’t be any ads in Paper for some time.