On a Facebook Creative Industries conference call on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted at the production of new apps by Facebook. Thursday, Facebook continued this idea by unveiling a new app called Paper, which will launch Monday February 3rd 2014. They did so without any press events or meetings, just a video showing what the app is all about:
As you can probably see from the video, Paper is a minimal UI app that shows your Facebook status updates photos and videos, gathers links that were shared by your contacts, and shows articles from publications who signed deals with Facebook for their content to be included. This content is all curated by a team of editors recently hired by the company. Unlike RSS feed readers, you cant add feeds and content from your own choice of sites, but can personalize which publications and sources you would like to hear from.
The app is beautiful looking with fullscreen images and videos, overlaid captions, and simple like, comment, and share buttons. It is a more minimal design than that of Facebook’s main app, and is reminiscent of the well known app Flipboard. The app does not allow you to view other things like games and events, as it is more for the purpose of quick updates on your favorite topics. Facebook’s Product Designer Mike Matas said about the topic, “You really want people to spend a little bit of time with it and appreciate that content. Almost like when you go to a museum and you spend a little bit of time with each thing.”
It’s no mystery why Facebook decided to make a mobile app as their other apps including Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook have been great successes. These successes grew Facebook’s profits to $523 million in the recent fourth quarter, bringing their total profits to $1.5 billion.
Facebook hasn’t yet announced if the app will also be available on the Android market in the future.