More cowbell, anyone?
Facebook on Friday released the latest installment of its Paper application, throwing in familiar aspects, like birthday and event reminders and photo comments, for members who can't seem to live without these social-networking mainstays in the separate application.
Paper is Facebook's two-month-old iPhone application for reading the news, or rather "preparing for your day," as product manager Michael Reckhow would say. The app is meant to be the archetype of the company's new standalone app strategy -- one app for every desire: News Feed, messaging, photos, groups -- and gives people an entirely different perspective on the social network's stream of content. People who use Paper browse an average of 80 stories each day, Reckhow said.
The updated release, version 1.1, introduces reminders for birthdays and events, updates that are sandwiched in the notification menu atop the screen and now just one tap away. The point here was to give early users more of what they want, Reckhow told CNET, and they really wanted these helpful nuggets of information.
"A lot of people have said that when they're in Paper they want to make sure...that [birthday and event] information is at hand," he said.
Also topping users' must-have list are photo comments so Paper now comes with a camera button to post photos in comments. "Photo comments are something we added to Facebook not too long ago and we found that it's now something people can't live without," said Reckhow.
On the more mundane side of things, people will notice that when navigating to their list of groups, Paper now displays the number of unread stories per group.
With Facebook's unbundling strategy in full swing, Friday's updates seem a little counterintuitive. Paper now provides more of the standard Facebook app experience, not less. Indeed, the new features, all based on requests, suggest that Paper users are treating the application like a Facebook replacement.
Reckhow cautioned against drawing that conclusion, saying that the updates we're all designed to give people quotidian information essential to their days. Paper is meant to provide you with what you need to know before you leave your house, he said. It's something you want to check in the morning for news, sports, great photos, or the events you have on deck.
Just how many people are reading Paper each day is a mystery. The social network is not talking about the size of its audience, instead relying on the 80-stories-per-day engagement metric to prove the value of its separate smartphone application.