Facebook is about to launch itself into a creative new market with their latest app Paper, set for release on February 3rd. It’s a news reader app which organises data from the user’s Facebook account into a visually appealing, concise, easily navigable manner. The concept has been seen before, but Facebook’s take on it incorporates its hugely popular features and social expertise with the aesthetics of Pinterest or Google+, all of it wrapped in a handy mobile phone for ease of use. Importantly, the release is indicative of a new direction in the social media giant’s future.
Meantime, for similar apps on the market such as Feedly, Flipboard, and Pulse, it’s ominous news. The simple fact this is Facebook, even if it is entering a new domain, puts it at a colossal advantage over other companies. However, this isn’t a lazy attempt by Facebook to dominate a new market. As you will see from the videos and pictures of Paper, it looks genuinely stunning. As Facebook enters the mobile era, it’s time to take a look at its latest software.
News stories have been doing the rounds regarding Facebook’s user base growing larger than China’s entire population by 2015. Clearly the company show no signs of slowing down, and the latest app will certainly launch with much fanfare and media interest. Paper’s take of news curation is based around a user’s Facebook account. The app brings in pictures, news, videos, and links from their friend’s activity feeds — whatever your friends get up to, you will be made aware of in a visually appealing manner. It’s best to see the software in action, which we can do here courtesy of Facebook’s official introductory video.
As you’d expect, it’s easy to share content with other friends and family from Paper to Facebook. Like buttons and sharing abilities are ever present, whilst other features include tilt screen mobile technology, which allows you to navigate landscape images, customisable sections, and the ability to swipe between content, images, and videos. It’s clearly based around popular internet and technology pastimes: big images, easy to navigate sections, and immediate social media access. Until it’s released, however, it’s unclear quite what its impact will be.
For further information you can check out the official Paper site (which requires a high-tech computer simply to get it running). As mentioned, the app is released on February 3rd on iOS.
Advertising in Mobile apps
Paper neatly falls into line with Facebook’s recent plans regarding mobile advertising. As mobile technology has advanced so rapidly over the last few years, companies are forced to adapt. Responsive Design has become a popular technique used to bring many businesses into the mobile arena. Other companies have been more adventurous, launching software to take advantage of the app craze. As you would expect from Facebook, the company has seen an opportunity to run ads in apps and make more money from its social media format. Facebook recently stated this will be implemented soon, which is perfectly timed for Paper’s release.
Until recently, adverts on Facebook have been reasonably restrained. Now they’re likely to branch into mobile apps through the rest of 2014 and beyond. As Facebook announced in a post on January 22nd, “As mobile continues to move to more app-based experiences, advertisers want to reach people spending their time in apps and developers need new ways to make money.” It added, “To improve the relevancy of the ads people see, provide even greater reach for Facebook advertisers and help mobile developers better monetise their apps, we’re running a small test to show Facebook ads in mobile apps.” It’s not clear when this will come into effect, but Facebook has stated that it has trialed the idea with a number of its “advertisers and partners.” Once the possibility to use ads in mobile apps through Facebook is made widespread, it will certainly become a popular feature for businesses across the world. As the company is able to control the relevancy of its advertisements, it shouldn’t be as intrusive for users as the more familiar (and dreaded) spam has become.
Consequently it won’t be a surprise to see ads hitting Paper some time after its launch, but until then this unique take on Facebook activities deserves a chance to flourish. iOS users should mark the 3rd of February in their diary. It will be interesting to see what all the fuss is about.