Facebook releases the Paper app for a distraction-free reading experience

Facebook has developed an app that will offer a smooth, focused reading experience to the network’s users. The mobile app aptly called Paper will deliver constantly updating text/video/photo content in a bite-size fashion through a minimalistic distraction-free full-screen layout.

The app, which is all ad-free (at least, for now), will be launched for iPhone on February 3 in the USA. Users of the new app will be able to browse through sections that interest them most—the first section on the list is Facebook News Feed, followed by a selection of other themes including food, sports, travelling, photography and more. This list is customizable, so each user will be able to select the areas of interest to make the reading experience as enjoyable as possible.

The content pieces—texts, videos, photos—are delivered “packed” into compressed individual cards. This approach allows readers to concentrate on each of them, expand or shrink the cards, before skipping to the other piece of information. Updates from the news feed don’t get mixed with content delivered by other trusted publishers, as they can be flipped through separately. Each section in Paper has its own main screen, featuring a cover photo and a several small cards below it.

“You really want people to spend a little bit of time with it and appreciate that content,” commented Facebook product designer Mike Matas. “Almost like when you go to a museum and you spend a little bit of time with each thing. It’s a publishing tool, a way of publishing great content, and a way of viewing great content.”

Content in the app can be explored by touches and other natural movements. For instance, users can also tilt their phones to get a closer look at high-resolution panoramic photos. The pieces can also be shared and liked within the app. The articles unfold in the app in a blink of an eye and pop up full-screen.

Users can also post to Facebook via Paper’s compose screen, which allows them to see their future posts exactly as they will be. This offers a whole new way of sharing news and exploring content, Facebook’s own. “Tools that were out there for sharing high-quality stuff and also the tools where you could reach an audience,” added Matias. “We felt you shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other.”