Facebook's attempt at reinvention has arrived: Paper, an iOS app that turns your News Feed into a newspaper, is now available for download.
Announced last week, Paper is a radical departure for Facebook, which isn't exactly known for its mobile design chops. The magazine-like app opens with a reimagined version of your News Feed--where it goes from there is up to you. Paper offers a range of sections, from the day's headlines to food, that you can choose from. Facebook editors curate the stories in each section from well-known publications and underground sources.
The app is the first effort from Facebook's new Creative Labs team and is indicative of where the social network is going--away from its stodgy features, functional (but not pretty) design, and acquiring its best features (like Instagram). With Paper, Facebook is presenting its vision for the future: a world where you get news from your friends' and family's lives in the same place you get your headlines and long reads.
I wouldn't be surprised if some people ditch the Facebook iOS app entirely in favor of Paper, which has all the same features as your normal News Feed but just looks better.
One hiccup in Facebook's launch of Paper: An app called Paper already exists. The sketching app for iPads was Apple's 2012 App of the Year, so it's not exactly a little-known title, but Facebook has so far ignored developer FiftyThree's requests that the social network change its new app's name.
"An app about stories shouldn't start with someone else's story," FiftyThree cofounder and CEO Georg Petschnigg penned in an open letter to Facebook.
It looks like FiftyThree is fighting a losing battle against the world's largest social network, but Facebook hasn't publicly responded to the developers' request.