Facebook is now planning on shutting down Paper, a bold reimagining of its app for iOS. The app impressed critics but failed to attract a large audience. On Thursday, the social media giant announced that on July 29, it will close down Paper.
Paper an inspiration for Facebook’s other apps
Paper, which was introduced in January 2014, signaled the start of a design renaissance at the social networking site. Facebook’s Paper app transformed the core Facebook experience into the likes of a newsreader with customizable sections for technology, food, sports, politics and other important subjects. Visitors to the app now receive a message informing them that the app will no longer function after July 29.
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Ideas from the Paper app have made their ways into other apps, most notably Instant Articles, which was introduced last year, says Facebook. Instant Articles, a fast-loading story format feature, borrowed many design elements from Paper, such as custom designs and full-bleed images for individual publishers’ articles. In a message to users, Facebook said its goal with Paper was to explore new immersive and interactive design elements for reading and interacting with content on the platform.
“We know not all the features you love will move over to Facebook, but we hope you’ll continue to notice elements from Paper improving the Facebook experience for everyone,” the message reads.
End of Paper comes as no surprise
Mike Matas, whose design firm Push Pop Press was acquired by the social media giant in 2011, helped with the look and feel of the Paper app. The app was notable for a lot of reasons, with one being the novel animations it uses to guide users through the app. The user just had to tap a link, and it would unfold like a letter. If one pulls down on the story, it folds back up and returns the user to the feed.
Facebook’s Paper app was praised by designers and users who enjoyed using the platform without seeing any advertisements. According to research firm App Annie, since December 2014, Paper has not been among the 1,500 most-downloaded apps despite Facebook’s enormous growth (which surged to 1.09 billion daily users this year). The application never came to Android, and its iOS version was last updated in March 2015.
Creative Labs, which built Paper and many other experimental apps for Facebook, was shut down in December. The shutdown of Paper appeared very likely at that point. Earlier this year, Matas left the company.