With five days to go before Facebook celebrates its tenth birthday, the California social-networking giant has announced Facebook's new storytelling app, Paper. The Paper app, launching Monday, merges in-depth Facebook updates from your friends with articles from top websites, with the aim of giving you a single place to get all your news — both in terms of your friends and family, and world events. Like Flipboard, you can "flip" from a friend's status update to a HuffPo Syria update; from a photo album from your cousin's birthday party, to Bustle's story about McDonalds selling heroin with Happy Meals. (Totally happened.)
Paper, an oh-so-modern spin on "newspaper," has been in development for a year, and is the first product of Facebook mini-group Creative Labs. The Creative Labs initiative was launched by Facebook in an effort to spark more creativity and originality for the company's tech side. The small groups of developers at Creative Labs work to come up with new stuff in a start-up-esque fashion — just one that operates inside of the Facebook mega-dome.
With Paper, you'll be able to curate exactly what stories you want to receive, both from your friends and from your news sources, according to what you tell Paper about your interests. In a blog post, Facebook explained:
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.
And in the midst of everybody — including Princeton University — claiming that Facebook is, like, so over, Facebook has hit back with astounding fourth-quarter profits. Thanks to an increased focus on ad revenue and mobile apps, Facebook bolstered its revenue by a gigantic 63 percent in the last three months of 2013. Facebook stock promptly jumped by 16 percent, leaving Mark Zuckerberg et al looking very smug. Take that, Princeton!
Facebook's gains in the last twelve months, which have seen Facebook achieve a strong and seemingly permanent foothold on the market, are largely from streamlining and developing their mobile presence. Ad revenue, which can't be underestimated in terms of sheer monetary gain, has also had a lot to do with it.
"We're looking forward to our next decade," Zuckerberg said, somewhat modestly, after the announcement of all that profit, "and to helping connect the rest of the world."