Playing with Paper: Facebook’s Newest Mobile Expansion
Facebook Creative Labs, a brand new attempt by the ever-growing social network company to take over the mobile playground, launched into the marketplace this month. Instead of a drastic reorganization, Mark Zuckerberg and company decided to allow the over 6000 employees to form their own individual teams for special projects. The first such project out of Creative Labs became available to the public Feb. 3 of this year, an app simple name Paper.
The app came to fruition through the combined efforts of a 15 person team that took about a year to finish development. Paper allows users to access the stories from their Facebook News Feed, as well as several other categories of stories that can be customized to the user’s preferences. Users are still able to post stories of their own and like posts as if they were using Facebook normally.
This is of particular importance when considering the company that has made these changes. Historically, users of Facebook have not been very friendly to changes to the website or its satellite apps. Here one can see the importance of Creative Labs and Paper. By empowering groups of employees to create new standalone apps, Facebook has the ability to try out new ideas without upsetting its user base.
Consider if Paper isn’t well received and flops. Under any other circumstance, any changes to Facebook or any of its apps would require a trial by fire. The entire user base would be affected by any changes made. Such bold moves can make or break any company, let alone one that relies on keeping traffic flow high and steady.
Facebook’s changes throughout the year haven’t been so damaging as to lose too many users at any given time. That doesn’t mean that users haven’t gotten tired of complete redesigns. A change like Paper, if made under Facebook’s old model implementing site-wide changes, could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Instead, by allowing the app to be a standalone, the users themselves can decide whether or not Paper is worth having.
This model will translate over to all of the apps that come out of the Creative Labs. Currently, Facebook’s plan is to release a slew of standalone apps.
Currently, Paper doesn’t allow for anonymous use as users have to log in with their Facebook credentials. Future apps are expected to be completely anonymous, while playing with the drastic changes that Facebook hesitates to implement universally.
Call it an experiment, or just clever business, but the Creative Labs has the potential to give Facebook an iron fisted grip over the mobile app playing field. All this while giving their users the same comfortable social network site they’ve grown to love.
The Facebook takeover has begun.