1) It’s very well done. Some of the design seems a bit heavy-handed at times, but it’s responsive and sleek.
2) I’ve already replaced the standard Facebook app on my phone with Paper. It has basically everything you need from Facebook except Events, which you have to assume is another one of the stand-alone apps they’re working on.
3) Facebook’s standard app both looks and feels like a bit of a dog next to Paper. I do wonder if this is some elaborate A/B test by Facebook to see if this can actually be the next major version of the Facebook app itself. There’s no way they could roll this out to users in that way as a replacement — it would be the shitshow to end all shitshows. But this strikes me as a clever way to test big changes — just release it as a new app and see what the reaction is!
4) Facebook’s website is almost completely unusable to me now. I mean, it works2, but it’s so bloated and generally unappealing compared to Paper. I really am starting to wonder if and when Facebook shouldn’t just cease work on the web entirely. I know it won’t happen anytime soon, but maybe it’s not such a crazy notion. If anything, the legacy is holding them back — but that’s probably a topic for another 500 Word post.
5) Having said all of that, it seems like Paper makes Facebook feel quite a bit more shallow. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been checking it more frequently today than I normally do with Facebook, but I keep seeing the same content hours after it was first posted. And it’s not as easy to dive deeper into things.
6) The various Paper sections need some work. A lot of that content is quite stale or worse, repetitive. And while I finally figured out how to mute some of the pre-set sources3, it takes something like five to six clicks to do so, which is ridiculous.
7) I don’t like that the main section is called/labeled “Facebook”. This seems off-brand to me and looks funny — almost like a third-party made the app. I understand that they want to differentiate from the other feeds, but I’d just use the “f” logo.
8) I’d love a feed of just my friend’s photos.
9) The tilt-to-view photo feature is pretty clever and fun. It makes the photos feel more immersive.
10) The “unfolding” of articles is also slick. And, proper read-later integration, finally!
11) I get that Facebook is trying to run teams like this one like a startup within the company and so we only get Paper for iPhone on day one. But it is a little ridiculous that iPad and Android users are being left out in the cold. We’re talking about (tens of? hundreds of?) millions of eager users.
12) Overall, Paper makes me a bit more bullish on the prospects for Facebook going forward. As I’ve said before, the great social network is starting to unbundle. Paper is a good first step that shows Facebook is happy to experiment without fear.