Facebook Inc (FB) said last week it was launching its stand-alone app called Paper—not to be confused with the app of the same name by FiftyThree—and now, according to TechCrunch, the app is available in the iOS App Store in the U.S. But is it anything more than just a replacement for the original Facebook app? Workers at the social network say it isn’t, but their actions suggest otherwise.
The app apparently does more than just let users read content. It also provides messages, search, notifications and a newly redesigned profile. Josh Constine of TechCrunch apparently asked the team members who developed Facebook’s Paper app if they still use the old Facebook app, and they gave the impression that they don’t. In other words, Paper could end up being a replacement for the current Facebook app.
Designer Mike Matas said there are a few things the Paper app doesn’t do, like show events, but for the most part, he said the app is enough for what he does on Facebook.
Facebook’s Paper app meant to be another tool
What’s interesting about this observation is that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a vision of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) launching more than one mobile app with different uses. Paper was apparently meant to be the first step, but if it’s nothing more than a replacement for the original app, it’s worth questioning just how the social network aims to go about creating a family of different apps which do different things. And if Facebook’s own workers only use Paper and don’t bother with the old Facebook app, then that’s very telling.
The Paper app made by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) came from its Creative Labs initiative and allows people to set certain sections and create a type of personalized digital newspaper. Then they can browse the redesigned News Feed and also Paper sections to read stories from friends, major publishers and others in a full-screen format. The app also enables users to share content in a way that offers a preview of how the post will look to others before you actually post it.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Paper app for iOS is free to download in the U.S. At this point, the social network hasn’t said when it might release an iPad or Android version.
Paper app maker asks Facebook to change name of its app
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s new app bears the same name of the drawing app made by FiftyThree, which has asked the social network to change the name of its app. FiftyThree’s drawing app called Paper has been popular since it came out in 2012, even earnings Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Best App of the Year in 2012, as well as several other awards. According to The New York Times’ Bits blog, even Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) recognizes FiftyThree’s dominance in search for the word paper,” as the Paper app made by the company is the first link at the top of the search results for that term.
FiftyThree posted a public statement on its website asking Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) not to use the Paper name for its app. The company owns a trademark for the name “Paper by FiftyThree.” Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), however, told the startup company that it has no plans to change the name of its app.
And apparently the name of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s new app isn’t the only thing that’s similar to FiftyThree’s work. According to Nick Bilton of The New York Times, the music playing in the background of Facebook’s app is similar music from a video for another product made by FiftyThree.