Is Facebook App Going Obsolete? FB Announces Paper, A 'Distraction-Free' News-Reading App for iOS

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By Vanessa Francisco | January 31, 2014 8:03 PM EST

According to Engadget, Facebook is now making its way in the news app category and going up against Flipboard and Google's Newsstand service. The app is called "paper" and promises to offer a full screen, distraction-free layout, separated from your own Facebook News feed. Additionally, the user can also pick from Facebook's curated themes such as food, sports, photography, design and science.

It is endangered to be populated only by giant media corporations but Facebook promises to have articles coming from both well-known Web sites as well as emerging ones, but it also says it will make sure that trusted publications will be easy to find from the mix.

Navigating from one article to another will be done through swipes. The user will be able to tilt his device to arc across larger panoramic photos. From the early screens that Facebook has started sharing, the social network seems to be going on a visual appeal, with pictures dominating the navigation and soft white icons laid above photos from easy navigation. It certainly looks a lot like iOS 7 in many places. There will be videos and full screen and auto play features with the hopes of a toggle feature as well.

"Paper" allows users who want to see new stories, videos and photos to scroll left and right from the screen through the content cards. The traditional Facebook notification bar is found on the top right hand corner of the main screen, including messages, friend requests and other notifications. When the user views individual stories, there are Facebook action buttons shown at the bottom for easy response. Users can also post straight to Facebook via the "Paper" app, making the original FB app redundant in theory. Unlike RSS apps and other news reader apps, "Paper" does not allow people to add their own links.

Facebook has developed separate app for new features in the past, such as the Camera and Facebook Messenger apps. Like "Paper," the apps were linked to the original Facebook app but each had their own set of features. For example, Facebook Messenger lets users chat while using other apps. "Paper," on the other hand, has a lot of Facebook's existing features.

The "Paper" app will launch on Feb. 3 and will mark the premier release of Facebook's Creative Labs department, which promises more apps going forward.

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