Back in 2011, Facebook poached Google's creative director in order to start up a group known as Facebook Creative Labs. Until now, they've worked behind the scenes, but today we've seen them reveal their first real product, known as "Paper." Paper is a new kind of Facebook app that puts a focus on visual storytelling.
It's not the first standalone app Facebook has released - a few months ago, they turned out Facebook Messenger, which pulls the chat and messaging parts of Facebook out into a separate app. Combine Messenger with Paper, and you might have the future of Facebook at your fingertips.
Paper doesn't look like any kind of Facebook app you've seen before. The UI is modern and extremely responsive - it frankly looks incredible.
Explore and share stories from friends and the world around you. Available for the iPhone in the US on February 3rd. For an early look, you can take a tour at http://facebook.com/paper
Borrowing liberally from news apps such as Flipboard, FB's Paper gets rid of the clicking and tapping upon which the current app is based, in favor of swiping around. Swipe between friends on your list, swipe between individual stories, swipe pictures in and out of full-screen views - you get the idea.
Upon opening the app, you're presented with a number of sections (that Facebook allows you to customize later on) - your News Feed, which is full of pictures, videos, and other stories from your friends.
The other sections offer some curated and not curated mixes of news stories, photography, and other content from 'trusted publishers.'
There are a few other quirks to the app that set it apart; Paper lets you Tilt your phone around to look around high-res panoramas, and a 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get' post creator that allows you to see what your post will look like before you publish it.
Facebook says that Paper will go live on February 3rd, but it'll be available only for the iPhone at first. While no further plans have been announced, it's likely that we'll see iterations come out both for the iPad as well as Android phones and tablets at some point in the near future.
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