Facebook has announced a new news-reading app called Paper for iPhone, which wants to replace Flipboard and be your portal to friends and news.
The slick, gesture-driven app will launch in the US on 3 February and promises to overhaul how users view and interact with status updates, photos and videos from friends, as well as news content pulled from “the world’s best sources”.
With Paper, Facebook is directly challenging Flipboard, the news and social aggregator that presents stories in a magazine-style layout that flips between stories with swiping gestures.
Flipboard also pulls content from news sources and entertainment sites, as well as Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Aiming for 150 million users by the end of 2014, Flipboard had about 85 million users in September 2013 with 6 million users added within a month of the launch of version 2.0 of the application. The company was valued at $800m (£485m) by a $50m funding round in September.
A re-imagining of its often-cluttered News Feed
For Facebook, Paper is essentially a re-imagining of its often-cluttered news feed, which acts as the main interaction point for most people on the social network. Instead of scrolling through lists of status updates, comments and Candy Crush Saga news blips, Paper presents all stories in a slick-looking horizontally scrolling set of screens.
Every story appears in a “distraction-free” full-screen layout with captions and comments overlaid on images or video, the larger ones of which can be panned around by simply tilting the iPhone.
Users will be able to customise their feeds with a choice of more than a dozen sections, themes and topics ranging from photography to food, each combining “a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications”. Users will not, however, be able to add their own feeds from sites of their own.
Paper will also let people post stories directly to Facebook using a slick new editor that resembles modern web publishing tools allowing users to see what their posts look like before publishing them.
The first product of Facebook’s new Create Labs, no dates were given for UK availability or when the app will be available on Android or other platforms.
• Facebook posted record quarterly results in January and reported a $1.5bn profit for 2013
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