Last week Friday Facebook announced its new app, Paper, and as promised it became available for download on the iOS App Store yesterday. Except, with Facebook being an American company, it was only at around 8pm that the application hit the virtual shelves of Apple’s store.
Paper’s touch-optimised interface brings an entirely new experience to Facebook users. Rather than having a linear feed, timeline posts appear as stories that can be scrolled through horizontally. Swiping up on a story will show it in its entirety, replete with tilt-activated landscape photos. Everything feels a lot more futuristic, but at the same time it remains a very familiar and intuitive experience.
Aside from timelines, users can also add news feeds to Paper. These don’t appear in the same timeline as Facebook posts, but rather in their own sections, arranged by theme. Accessing different sections is as easy as swiping across the title photo for each section. News stories are navigated in the same way as posts. Swiping up opens the post, and swiping up again flips open the page – kinda like Facebook’s now-new best enemy, Flipboard.
South African users will also be out of luck: the application isn’t available in the local App Store. Instead, a workaround is needed to get access to the American-region-only application. Facebook has not said when or whether Paper will hit app stores in other regions, or even whether Paper will be available on Android.
Speculation around the web, and here at htxt.africa, suggests that Paper (in its current form) is just being trialled in its home market before Facebook starts adding some crucial missing features – like advertising, which will be important to its bottom line. It’s also entirely possible that Paper will become the all-new Facebook app, with the current one – merely a mobile version of the Facebook website – being mothballed at some point in the future.