Editor’s Note: Sorry, Facebook has ended the Paper app. Learn more about Facebook features at The Wonder of Tech: Facebook articles at The Wonder of Tech.
Facebook celebrated its 10th birthday in style this week, by giving you a present. The company launched Paper, an app that serves as both a Facebook app and a news reader in a clean, modern and fresh design. This free app is a one-stop source for the latest news from both your Facebook friends and the world at large.
Think of Paper as a blend between the Facebook app and a news app such as Zite or Flipboard. If you want all your updates in one place or you’re looking to reduce the number of apps on your mobile device, Paper could quickly become your new favorite app.
To get started, download the app and log into your Facebook account. Note that for now the app is only available in the US for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch).
The app walks you through how to navigate through the different stories. Paper is operated by gestures with few prompts so you’ll want to pay attention to the instructions. If you forget how to maneuver through the app, just play around with it. You’ll catch on quickly or have fun getting lost in the app.
You can use the Facebook part of the app just as you would the regular Facebook app. You can post, see your Facebook feed, Like, Share and read from within Paper.
One of the very coolest features of the app is how you can see different perspectives of a photo by tilting your device. The effect makes it seem as if you are looking through a window instead of a mobile device.
In settings you can control whether Facebook notifications open in the Facebook app or the Paper app.
In addition to seeing your Facebook feed in a new format, you can also read news articles on topics of interest to you. Choose from:
- Headlines – News of the day
- Tech – Tech news
- Exposure – Photos
- Ideas – Science articles
- Home – Decorating inspiration
- Flavor – Food
- Creators – Those who make thing for our world
- Pop Life – Pop culture
- Enterprise – Business
- Score – Sports
- Equalize – News for women and men creating a level playing field
- Planet – Science, sustainability and nature
- All City – Urban arts, sports, music and style
- Well Lived – Trending destinations, activities, fashion and culture
- Family matters – Living with babies, kids and teens
- Cute – All things adorable
- LOL – Humor to brighten your day
- Glow – Brighten your day
- Pride – Community stories
Another cool effect of the app is the way the articles unfold to open and fold to close. Swipe up to open and down to close articles. The articles appear in the bottom half of your screen and the categories appear in the top of the screen.
Using the App
The app is a radical change from the original Facebook app in design, features and navigation. You won’t forget you’re in the new app if you’re using it for its Facebook function. It may take a day or two for you to feel comfortable in figuring out the swipes. If you’re one to get easily distracted, this app will do double duty for you – catching up on your friends and the news. You may never need to leave this app!
Using the app on the iPhone/iPod Touch may quickly have you wishing for a bigger screen. Because the app uses a split screen display for categories and articles, the size of each window can challenge those without 20/20 vision. Using the app on the iPad is a much more pleasant experience even though the app is created for iPhone.
Paper is available free in the iTunes App Store. The app is ad-free for now but Facebook may put ads in it in the future.
Have you tried Paper? Do you enjoy the cool features of the app? Do you like the idea of having a combined Facebook and news app in one? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Facebook’s Birthday Card
No birthday would be complete without a birthday card and Facebook has one for you. Called “A Look Back,” Facebook has created a personalized video card for you featuring the highlights of your shared experiences on Facebook.
To see your video card go to Facebook Lookback and reminisce about your life since you joined Facebook. you also have the option to share it on your Timeline.