Facebook has introduced Paper, a news reader app that appears to be somewhat similar to Flipboard. Here's what we know so far about this new Facebook offering.
1. Paper: 'Years' in the Making
Mashable reports that Facebook's Paper app has been "in the works for years." Facebook Product VP Chris Cox is in charge of the project, according to Re/code. According to the video above, Paper will launch February 3.
2. Paper Is Part of Facebook's Stand-Alone App Trend
CNET notes that Paper is just one of several stand-alone Facebook apps coming down the pipeline. The focus on stand-alone apps appears to be part of a 3-year plan. Mark Zuckerberg recently championed an effort to get more people connected through web-connected mobile devices, discussed in the news report above.
3. Facebook Is Moving Away From 'Real Profiles'
According to a recent TechCrunch article, Facebook seems to be moving away from the "real profile" model. For now, users of Paper need to sign in with Facebook. However, future standalone Facebook apps may allow for anonymous use, or use under a fake name. The possibility of more standalone apps and more anonymity may help Facebook to keep growing, despite the recent assertions of a Princeton Study (see above video) that Facebook could lose 80 percent of its users by 2017.
4. Paper Pulls Content From 19 Categories
With Paper, Facebook just blew its own iPhone app out of the water http://t.co/PgRYP1QhRn
— The Verge (@verge) January 30, 2014
According to Mashable, Paper will include typical news sections like Sports and Tech, as well as more offbeat categories like "LOL." Engadget clarifies that Paper content will be pulled from both popular sites and "emerging voices." Navigation will be swipe-based, similar to the popular news "magazine" app Flipboard.
5. Paper Is the First Offering From Facebook Creative Labs
Facebook Paper has nothing on Facebook Snaper, my new app that lets you read news stories off Alan Rickman’s chest. pic.twitter.com/lLKc5yzpQF
— Visual Idiot (@idiot) January 30, 2014
According to TechCrunch, Paper is the first project to come out of Facebook Creative Labs. The Creative Labs are part of Facebook's efforts to give small teams within Facebook the ability to act like more independent startups.