Thursday, 27 February 2014

Paper for Facebook review and thoughts

Facebook has recently launched Paper app in the USA store. I downloaded it (although not officially available in Europe) and have been playing with it for a while.

I use it basically  for my own Facebook timeline as I do not like the idea of adding other content that you cannot control. You can add different sections like Headlines, Tech, Enterprise, etc., but you are not able to modify the content, but it is Facebook who does. It lacks of flexibility in that sense. I guess it is a new platform for news channels to promote themselves through Facebook, so Facebook can monetise their service.

I really like the user interface. It is innovative, quick and very smooth. I hope other developers learn from it and start to mimic it. It would be great to have for instance, an RSS reader or a twitter client with this user interface. I think the possibilities are great.

I have read that Facebook is not planning to create an Android or iPad version and do not plan to release it outside USA. I guess this is because of the deals that they have done with the news channels. I have the feeling this is just a test in order to see if they can get some more revenue with this app. If not, I have the feeling that this will be another Facebook chat for Windows (to be closed in March) or Facebook notifications for Mac (that stopped working years ago). It would be sad but it might happen. That is why I do not want to like it too much (in case Facebook cuts support for it), but I can't help it. After using it for some weeks I cannot go back to the "old" Facebook app!

Still, iPhone app has some small details that I would like to see fixed: iPhone status bar is not visible when are in the app, and secondly, the font is too small on the chat window. However, I am not sure if Facebook is planning to keep updating this app. But time will tell.

As a summary:

What I like:

  • Fast and smooth user interface
  • Innovative
  • Use of screen gestures (swipe up, down, etc.)

I do not like

  • iPhone status bar not visible
  • Font too small on the chat window
  • Not sure if Facebook has serious plans for the app

Anyway, I hope the app succeeds and we soon see iPad, Android and even Windows Phone versions. Here it is the link to the USA app store where you can download it if you have a USA account

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