I thought it was interesting that on yesterday’s earning call Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about conquering mobile with an array of single-purpose experiences rather than cramming more functionality into Facebook’s core app. We are already starting to see that vision come to life as this morning Facebook announced a new stand alone iOS app and visual news reader called Paper. The app delivers articles and photos you and their algorithm have curated into categories like Score (sports), Headlines (world news), Enterprise (business), Exposure (photography), Flavor (food), and Ideas (daily intellectual themes).
This is the first app out of Facebook Creative Labs which is are small teams within Facebook tasked with building standalone mobile experiences as if they were nimble startups. The app was revealed through a microsite you can explore here or watch the video above and will be available to everyone in February 3rd.
I find this new strategy from Facebook interesting in good and bad ways during a time where Facebook is seeing the highly sought after teenage and millennial demographics fleeing their site in huge numbers. I think it is good because it tried to solve that problem by taking the focus of Facebook interactions off the community and puts it on an individual person’s experience. But at the same time I think it is bad because I don’t see any innovation or new thinking here – it looks like they made Flipboard for Facebook. The interface design is really nice and there are some nice interactions but since there is no new thinking the video descends into interface porn with the amount of time they spent showing off their page turns, accelerometer scrolling, content zooming, swiping and more.
I will obviously reserve final judgement for when I am actually able to experience the app as more than just a video but I think that is Facebook wants to fix their emerging problems they are going to need to find more innovative solutions that reshape or redefine their core experience instead of just packing it up in existing ideas.