Inside Facebook's compelling new Paper app

Facebook is branching out. In an attempt to be more relevant and to deliver its sea of information in a more fluid manner, Facebook this week launched the iOS app called Paper. (Sorry, no Android version yet.) Paper runs on both the iPhone and iPad, but it's not optimized for the iPad's larger screen size.

In a nutshell, Paper is a more refined way to browse your Facebook news feed -- it's a magazine-like experience that splits the screen in half. The top half shows you the current story, with swipeable cards below showing previews of other posts and photos in the timeline. The app is smart: you never have to pull down to refresh the view because new stories fly in as they occur. When holding the phone in portrait mode, you can tilt from side to side to see the entire photo. Simple swipes enlarge posts and switch among them.

Paper isn't just your news feed, though. You can add additional categories -- tech, pop culture, headlines, sports and more -- which deliver curated content to your phone in a wrapper that makes it feel like you're still in your news feed.

And Paper isn't just about consuming. You can make posts, "like" entries and write comments, just as you would would with the traditional Facebook app or website.  It's a smarter, sleeker, more refined version of both the iOS Facebook app and the failed Facebook Home app that never took off on Android.

It's not a complete Facebook app replacement, though. You'll still need to go elsewhere to take care of the more mundane details, like managing your settings. But for 90 percent of the things you currently do with Facebook, Paper is a more fun and beautiful way to do it.

Photo courtesy Facebook

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