Users of Apple’s iPhone are about to get a new way to browse their Facebook feeds and find other interesting articles that have been posted on the service: a visually focused application called Paper.
The social network intends to announce the app on Thursday, Jan 30, although it will not actually be available for download from Apple’s App Store until Monday. Initially it will be available only to users in the United States, NYT Bits reports.
Unlike the regular Facebook mobile app, the new app does away with buttons, menus and other distractions. The focus is on making it easy to consume content. Everything appears full screen and you move around the app by swiping or pinching the screen.
“Fire it up, and you see the updates from your news feed, one at a time. Photos of wide scenes like the Grand Canyon expand beyond the screen, with a tilt or twist of the phone allowing you to change your perspective to see other parts of the image. Videos start playing automatically. Longer posts appear in one scrollable chunk. Beyond your feed, you can drill down into topics like headlines, the planet, creators and cute animals, where you will see stories and visuals selected by Facebook’s algorithms as well as a handful of human editors. Some come from content partners, like CNN, National Geographic and The New York Times, which have optimized the look of their material on the app. Other articles are drawn from posts that have been made publicly on the service, such as artists’ photos of their work or posts by celebrities. As a bonus for users, there are no ads,” NYT Bits says.
Paper, which has been under development for the past year, is the latest addition to Facebook’s family of single-purpose apps, which includes Messenger for instant messaging and Instagram for sharing photos and videos.
Visually, Paper resembles the cover screen of Facebook Home, the software overlay introduced last year that could effectively turn an Android phone into a Facebook-everything device. But unlike Home, which made Facebook inescapable, Paper is intended to transcend Facebook’s previous limits.