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With Facebook's 'Paper' App, Friends, Editors Create Your News Feed


Early reviews have been mostly positive.

Today, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced its new iPhone app called Paper. Separate from the main Facebook app, Paper is a news-reading app that integrates users' Facebook News Feeds with additional sections curated by editors at Facebook. It also allows users to share their own stories, which in turn post to their Facebook accounts.

Paper boasts a streamlined user interface, eliminating buttons in favor of gesture and tilt-based navigation. The app has so far received positive reviews. It's UI has been called "fast and fluid," albeit disorienting at first.

Paper is the first product from Facebook Creative Labs, a workshop creating a new generation of apps. Michael Reckhow, the product manager behind Paper, told The Verge that Facebook wants Paper to "become its own thing" -- separate from Facebook. Paper's design manager Mike Madas is quoted in the same article saying that "it's a publishing tool, a way of publishing great content, and a way of viewing great content."

Paper will launch on February 3 on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS for iPhones in the US, and will be ad-free. Facebook is reportedly considering naturally integrated advertising in future versions.

On Wednesday, Facebook released positive Q4 earnings. Its total revenue was $2.59 billion, up from $1.59 billion in the same quarter in 2013. Its advertising revenue was $2.34 billion, a 76% increase from a year ago. Net income was $523 million ($0.20 per share) versus $64 million ($0.03 per share) in 2013.

Facebook's transition to mobile was notable. Facebook accounted for 18.4% of worldwide mobile advertising spend, reports the New York Times. That's up from 5.4% in 2012. However, it's a far shot from Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) 53.2% grip on the mobile ad market.

During the Facebook's earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wants to create different apps for different sharing communities. He believes this diversification can defend Facebook against "single-purpose mobile competitors."

Paper appears to be the first of these efforts.

Follow me on Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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