in Apps, iOS, iPhone

Paper: commonly used throughout all aspects of 1st world societies. Most of us just take it for granted in most rooms of the home: cookbooks in the kitchen, coffee table books in the family room, novels and textbooks in the bedroom, and in the toilet…well, you get the idea.

As so many of the tech savvy are aware, paper is also becoming an antiquity, replaced by the much more eco-friendly ‘digital copy.’ It is interesting, then, that Facebook Inc. has deigned to refer to their new app simply as ‘Paper.’ It may seem unclear as to the purpose of the application, initially, but once the free download is complete, the paper reference is obvious.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present a modern rendition of a unified reading experience, much like the newspapers of old!

What Is Paper?

Paper starts with minimal instructions that are unobtrusive and offer a satisfying check mark and chime to show its approval of just how well you followed directions. The little pat on the back is rare as the controls are appropriately (buzz word) intuitive. Simply select a few other topics of interest from the supplied sections, and you can quickly switch between your standard Facebook newsfeed and a selection of tech, sports, photography, lifestyle, and even cute posts, all aggregated from various websites.

In short, this is Facebook Inc.’s attempt at turning their social network into a one-stop portal. No need to hit up many of the news websites you might frequent when the articles you would have read are already there in Paper, waiting for you to browse past and give it a cursory scan.

What I Like

  • As stated before, the controls are supremely simply.
  • The layout is clean and devoid of advertisements or pop-ups.
  • Since this is a Facebook Inc. application, it ties in seamlessly with your account, allowing you to ‘like’ and comment on a friend’s status, and even quickly sharing/reposting any of the articles to your ‘wall.’

What I Don’t Like

One aspect reeks of gimmick, the ‘tilt to explore vivid high-resolution photos’ feature. Really, it just feels like you already double-tapped to zoom in and now you can’t see the whole picture. They offer an ‘auto-pan’ option, which makes the selected image slowly scroll horizontally. This doesn’t help much, but does make you feel pretty fancy and regal as the various visual offerings parade past.

From what I have experienced, most of the collected articles are current and topical, so don’t expect to find much of anything else going on besides what’s already trending. You’ll have to go to the actual news websites for more variety.

And unfortunately for most of the world, (and our editor Chris) Paper is only available in the US App store. [Thought it is easy to work around that.]

Download/Don’t Download?

For the most part, Paper achieves what I can only assume the programmers set out to do: offer a streamlined, first-thing-to-check-in-the-morning experience. It’s definitely worth a download, if you can, but I’m left wondering if I missed something posted on Facebook…so I’ll just go check that app too…

Download Paper here.

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