Facebook announces Paper — iPhone app available Feb. 3

Paper650

Facebook’s rumored reader app, Paper, is coming to iPhones on Feb. 3, the company announced early Thursday morning. Paper is somewhat comparable to Flipboard, in that it’s a way for Facebook users to discover news and share it with friends on the social network. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in Wednesday’s Q4 earnings call that more standalone apps from Facebook are in the pipeline, and then the company launched one less than 24 hours later.

In a highly visual manner, users can scroll through the top stories of the day and see what stories their friends are sharing and talking about. These will include news stories from sources such as CNN and Huffington Post, as well as news from friends, relatives and other connections.

Developed by a team of about 15 people, Facebook is launching Paper first for the iPhone, and then will see what kind of feedback the app gets before considering rolling it out to Android or other devices.

Facebook described Paper in a blog post:

Your Paper is made of stories and themed sections, so you can follow your favorite interests. The first section in Paper is your Facebook News Feed, where you’ll enjoy inspiring new designs for photos, videos, and longer written posts. You can customize Paper with a choice of more than a dozen other sections about various themes and topics—from photography and sports to food, science and design. Each section includes a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications.

The app looks like a vastly improved version of Facebook Home, where readers can scroll through stories and posts from friends. Users can tilt the phone to see high-resolution panoramic photos, as well as zoom in to see details. Full-screen auto-play videos will also be a part of the app too. When a user wants to share a story through Paper, they will be able to preview before posting.

Much like Flipboard (or Pinterest), users can also curate “sections,” for categories of news they like and want to read. For instance, a user can have a special section for sports news, or news about a specific topic or country, and Paper will provide stories fit for that interest.

Facebook also released a video showing what Paper can do:

Introducing Paper from Facebook on Vimeo.

Readers: What do you think of Paper?

Image and video courtesy of Facebook.

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