The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Facebook Paper App

Facebook's Paper

Right after announcing another news feed algorithm change to include more targeted content, Facebook introduced its newest app, Paper. Many speculated that the app would try to compete with other news apps like Flipboard or become another failed supplemental Facebook app like Poke. However, Paper is its own unique app, with plenty of other draws and a few drawbacks. Let’s explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of what might be the future of Facebook.

The Good

Paper is gorgeous. With a wonderfully clean and simple interface, Paper lets you seamlessly browse your friends’ stories, and then different news topics. As Facebook is attempting to show more high-quality, relevant stories to users on all devices, it almost looks as if Paper could eventually become the new default Facebook app.  You can still like, comment, and share posts just as you would on the regular Facebook app – but it looks quite a bit cleaner:

Regular Facebook app compared to Facebook Paper.

Paper makes it easier to digest content as well. With one flip, you can read an already-optimized version of the story. Paper also enlarges photos to make it easier to view photo albums and full details.

The other major benefit of Paper is the fact that you can view your news in groups.  Choose the topics you like and have the best stories delivered right to you, based on the stories you already like and share.  This could work out especially well for marketers, where content would land right in front of the desired audience.

The Bad

Upon initial inspection, you may wonder, “Why do I need Paper when I already have the Facebook app?” It’s true, Paper just looks like a different version of Facebook that is more focused on stories. Those who are already fans of the current Facebook app may not see a point to Paper. Those who hate any change Facebook makes will also not see a point.

Also (and this could just be me), the text for stories included in the bottom half of the app is TINY. You can see a picture and the source pretty clearly, but as to what the story is about? Think about commuters reading Paper on the train.

Paper screenshot

The Ugly

You’ve probably heard by now, but there’s another app named Paper out there. Given that the name is registered under “Paper by FiftyThree,” Facebook may be able to slide with the name, although FiftyThree filed a trademark for the name on the day that Facebook’s Paper was released. Paper by FiftyThree allows you to sketch on your iPad, and was voted the top Apple iPad App of 2012. FiftyThree has asked Facebook to change the name of the app, but as of right now, there’s no exact answer from Facebook.

You can download the new Facebook Paper app for iPhone here. Feel free to leave us your thoughts on the app in the comments below!