Facebook's Paper app saw the social network approach mobile in a completely new way, morphing the infamous News Feed into a beautiful magazine-style layout. What users got was not only a beautiful mobile experience, but a competitor to apps such as Flipboard, which is a leader as a social-network aggregator. But Facebook's bold redesign, while beautiful, left a lot of features out, leaving the experience feeling unfinished. That's changing, however, thanks to a big update to Paper 1.1.
In the update, Facebook's magazine app is getting a ton of new additions, such as birthdays and events, photo comments, group updates and more. Facebook said the changes are in response to user comments—a big sign the social network is serious about making Paper work. Whereas the first version of Paper was focused mostly on design, the newest update adds some familiar Facebook features, and makes the app feel more like a social network, and not just a place to find links to trending stories.
Facebook's Paper team says that users explore an average of 80 stories each day across five to six sections—Facebook is the most popular section, followed by Headlines, Tech, Ideas, LOL and Pop Life. But while usage seems high among early adopters, growth has reportedly been on the decline since hitting the App Store in February. That's definitely a concern, but the Paper team said right now it's more focused on the experience, and will worry about growth later this year.
Updates like Paper 1.1 might help—the app now seems more familiar to big-time Facebook users, while still retaining the beautiful design. You'll be able to see when someone's birthday is and comment on a friend's photo—typical Facebook activity. There are also nine new covers, such as Vanity Fair, Hacker News and Popular Science, giving users even more content to look through.
Facebook has failed before in mobile—numerous times—but Paper seems to be a project for the longterm. "In the coming weeks, check our blog to hear about the latest Paper updates, pro tips and inspiration for telling beautiful stories of your own," the Paper team wrote. "We know we have work ahead of us."
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