We're the most atypical Silicon Valley company you'll come across,“ says Acton, a clean-cut, red-faced 42-year-old from Michigan, whose appearance contrasts markedly with Koum's 188cm-tall, dark, unshaven look. "We were founded by thirtysomethings; we focused on business sustainability and revenue rather than getting big fast; we've been incognito almost all the time; we're mobile first; and we're global first.” He and Koum, he adds, are “the yin and yang – I'm the naïve optimist, he's more paranoid. I pay attention to bills and taxes, he pays attention to our product. He's CEO. I just make sure stuff gets done.
One of the reasons WhatsApp worked was its simplicity. There was no "bloat”, as the WhatsApp co-founders told Wired. That's not a concept that's usually associated with Facebook.
Facebook’s new Paper app is the best excuse yet to ditch the social network’s older offering. But while the re-imagined mobile experience adds beautiful fullscreen images and new, intuitive swipes to the mix, it also comes with a few limitations. So before you banish that blue and white standby to the netherworld of discarded apps, you probably want to make a few quick changes.
Paper by Facebook has been out for a day now and the reviews are, for the most part, quite divided. I haven’t been an avid Facebook user for some time, but the design and attention to detail on Paper is unmatched, and is worth sharing with other designers.
Today, Facebook has announced Paper, a dedicated iPhone app to “explore and share stories” through Facebook. The app is coming out on February 3, and it takes a photo-centric approach at, essentially, displaying updates from your News Feed alongside “stories” (i.e. links and photos) recommended by a new curation team inside Facebook. The app uses full-screen, edge-to-edge layouts, relies on gestures for navigation, and it’s highly reminiscent of Flipboard for iPhone, both in terms of basic principles (status updates intermixed with news content) and the gesture to open and close “stories” (watch the promo video, and you’ll see).
I’ll save thoughts on the motivation and execution for the future, but, today, I’m skeptical. Facebook has a history of standalone apps that provided better, more elegant functionality than the main iPhone client (like Facebook Camera) which haven’t received enough attention. Aside from the name (this isn’t going to be awkward at all) and Flipboard-esque layout, I feel a disconnect. This app looks too beautiful for the kind of content that is shared on Facebook. Looking through my News Feed on a daily basis, what I see isn’t the hip mix of beautiful landscapes and inspiring moments that Facebook is advertising, but a chaotic mess of drunk selfies, memes, clubbing photos, and low-quality pictures of dinners or other family events. There is the occasional gorgeous photos, but does that justify a standalone, magazine-like approach to News Feed content?
What I’ve seen so far reminds me a lot of the beautiful News Feed that Facebook announced and never really shipped to users. A great idea in theory…which most people’s News Feeds don’t deserve. Of course, this time it may be different: Paper’s team includes Mike Matas (you can see some Push Pop Press influences in the video) and, according to The Verge, Loren Brichter contributed to the development. Facebook’s mobile numbers are growing, and perhaps the company needs to give its teams the ability to try new things that will eventually trickle down to the main experience (case in point: features of Facebook Camera later ported to the Facebook app).
I’m curious because a) I want to study the design/interaction approach taken by Matas and team and b) it appears you’ll be able to ignore status updates and browse only headlines by sources you follow or recommended by Facebook. Curation matters, and it’ll be interesting to see if and how Facebook will mix top publications with smaller independent authors. The focus on tackling “storytelling” bymanycompanies lately is also a trend to keep an eye on, although I wonder if Paper can really become “Facebook 2.0” or “a reimagination of Facebook”.
Out today on the App Store, you can now edit comments and posts from the new version of Facebook for iOS (for posts that contain photos or locations from Instagram, you can only edit the text part of the status update). When leaving comments, you can also attach photos from your device (a feature that was added to the website a while back); at last, Facebook is providing easier access to privacy settings from mobile devices (tap the More tab on iPhone, then tap the lock icon next to your name).
Yesterday saw the release of thousands of apps optimized, enhanced, or, in some cases, completely redesigned for iOS 7. At MacStories, we highlighted several apps that were ready for the OS’ rollout such as Pocket, OmniFocus 2, or Instacast 4, and then we fired up iTunes – or simply waited for automatic updates to do their magic on iOS 7 – and checked out all the other apps that were also released yesterday. In this post, I thought I could offer a quick overview of iOS 7 updates from four big-name companies: Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google. (more…)
Some nice updates for developers who integrate Facebook functionality in their iOS apps. A new native Share Dialog, with support for photos like the iOS 6 Share Sheet, will be available in beta today:
The native Share Dialog is simple to integrate and significantly improves people’s sharing experiences from your native mobile app. It has built-in support for publishing Open Graph actions. In addition, people now have the option to share activity from apps through this dialog without needing to login to Facebook first. This makes it faster and easier for people to share.
The data and publishing permission dialogs look good as well. Facebook says they’re 20% faster, too.
Facebook 6.0 for iOS is, essentially, a cleaner Facebook app with Chat Heads. The slide-out navigation is still there, but it has been tweaked to feature new icons, consistent with Facebook’s new take on News Feed; the iPhone app now comes with filters to browse specific feeds for photos, music, games, close friends, and more; the iPad app has a cleaner design for the News Feed with avatars on the left; and both apps come with Chat Heads, Facebook’s new floating bubbles for private messaging (or, as they call it, “private sharing”). The Chat Heads feature is still rolling out, just like the updated News Feed design.
I’ve been able to try Chat Heads, which are enabled for my account. Unlike Facebook Home for Android, Chat Heads are limited to the Facebook app: per iOS’ architecture, Facebook can’t display Chat Heads anywhere in the operating system. The implementation of Chat Heads is consistent across the iPhone and iPad, but there are also some minor differences worth noting. (more…)
The Facebook app for iOS was updated today to version 5.4, which includes the possibility to record and upload videos within the app, as well as sending voice recordings to friends.
The UI for sending voice recordings in private messages is interesting. You can tap the “+” button in a conversation to bring up a menu to attach a photo, snap a new one, send emoji, or create a voice recording. To create a recording, you have to “touch and hold” to talk; an audio file will be sent once you release the button, and it can be played inline in a conversation. It’s a very simple interaction. I don’t know if this is new in this version, but the “+” button rotates to an “x” when tapped — just like the “+” button in the OS X Dashboard used to rotate when clicked.
Because the file gets sent after the user lifts the finger off the screen, Facebook implemented its own way to cancel the action: you can swipe to the side while holding to cancel a recording in progress. Doing so will reveal a red “cancel bar” at the top of the screen as confirmation. Recordings can also be played inline on the Facebook website.
The improved Nearby tab is also well designed. With an embedded MapKit view, the Nearby section lets you check out “favorite places” in your area. Like Apple’s Maps app, Nearby has floating controls at the bottom to pinpoint your current location and hide/view a list of results. At the top, there’s a large button to bring up a search for places that includes categories like Coffee and Hotels, as well as your “History”. I like how moving the map around brings up delimiters to “Search This Area”.