Facebook Paper is now available for free in the US and drastically changes the way you interact with Facebook, but in a good way. It brings with it beautiful full screen photos and status updates, a gesture driven design, and all new ways to curate your content based on what you care about most.
Paper is the first large project to come out of Facebook Creative Labs and if this is a sign of what's to come, it may be very good news for Facebook fans. Fans of apps such as Flipboard that have a more magazine style layout will also be drawn to Paper more than the native app. Since it specializes in curating content and grouping it into areas that make it easier to sort, it somewhat turns your Facebook timeline into a news feed of sorts.
Even though the main difference between Paper and the existing Facebook app is curation, the design is completely different as well. Instead of lots of menus to tap on and weed through, Facebook Paper cuts all of them out in favor of a completely gesture driven interface. Swipe between status and photos, swipe up and down through cards or to open news articles and links. This has been one of my pain points with the official Facebook app for a long time. I can't go back and forth very easily without accidentally pulling out chat or another menu I didn't mean to access. Paper solves this in a much more elegant fashion.
Since Paper is a completely new way of experiencing Facebook, there are gesture hints to get you started and if Paper thinks you're lost, it gives you a tip on how to use gestures to navigate through the app. So far I've found everything gesture wise to be spot on to what I'd expect from flicking statuses away to pulling down to access additional menus.
News is another area Facebook is trying to curate on your behalf, even outside your Facebook timeline. Just choose the types that interest you and Paper presents them in a card on its own. It's a much more thoughtful solution than the current way Facebook just randomly feeds in thinks you might like in the current app. You can grab it now via the link below as long as you're running iOS 7.0 or higher.
If you happen to try out Facebook Paper, let us know what you think of it in the comments. Will you be deleting the original Facebook app or keeping it alongside Paper? Let us know your reasonings too!