On February 3rd, 2014 Facebook launched its newest app, simply called Paper, on the iOS App Store. The app was meant to be a virtual magazine or newspaper for the iPhone. It was a stand-alone feature, not anchored in any direct way to the Facebook interface.
Facebook Creative Labs and Paper
Paper was a well-received app by the iOS user community. It had been designed, created, and updated by the Facebook Creative Labs team. The app was, in fact, the first finished product of Creative Labs and its positive reviews and acclaim encouraged the team to continue. Facebook Creative Labs carried on to specialize in many different experiences and to develop several other apps.
Facebook wanted to create an app that was also a magazine. The app could present a large amount of discoverable content on an iPhone screen without overwhelming its readers. Tilting, as a motion gesture, was heavily integrated into the app, adding to the ease of use and unique experience of the app. Finally, Facebook allowed for curator and third-party collaboration.
Many iOS users considered Paper’s better and more streamlined display and functionality to be an improvement from the actual Facebook app. Creative Labs was even asked several times to try and upgrade the social media interface to resemble Paper’s accessibility and dynamics.
In less than three months from Paper’s release, Facebook listened to the voice of the masses and allowed iOS users to access several Facebook features through Paper. In addition, the company re-published the app’s animation engine as open-source.
The last update for the app was released on March 11th, 2015. The Creative Labs team still offered full support for the app but would not continue to develop the app. Several of Paper’s features were becoming part of the main Facebook app.
Facebook’s Creative Labs was disbanded at the end of 2015 and Paper user support was drastically reduced. While new content was still being updated onto the app, direct third party collaboration began to diminish.
On June 29th, Facebook finally announced that Paper will be discontinued. The app is no longer available for download on the iOS App Store. All updates and support will be discontinued on July 29th. As continuous upgrades were done to the Facebook interface and its apps and Instant Articles currently covers most of Paper’s core features, the app was regarded as obsolete.
Image and Video Courtesy of YouTube.