Facebook Launch ‘Paper’, Their Newest Reader App

On the 30th of January, Facebook announced that a new standalone news reader mobile app, known as ‘Paper’, would be released in the near future. Whilst it has apparently been in the works for years, the announcement came only 24 hours after Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s famous CEO, revealed that they would be releasing more standalone apps this year.

What is it?
Paper will display content from 19 different ‘sections’ (such as sports, tech, pop culture and LOL), which users can choose to subscribe to. Each of these sections features a rotating carousel of images along the top with individual cards and stories below; a user can click on cards or stories that they wish to investigate further. For now, these sections cannot be personalised.

Users will also be given the opportunity to share their own stories on Paper, with anything posted also appearing on their Facebook Newsfeed. The app enables a user to preview what their posts will look like before sharing, ensuring that they are fully satisfied with the appearance. Users will also be able to share, ‘like’ and comment on stories, the same as with traditional Facebook.

Paper’s creation
It has been revealed that Paper was created by a 15-person team employed by Facebook Creative Labs. This is a broader initiative of the social network whose sole job it is to work on these standalone apps. It has also been announced that Paper sans advertisements, even though Facebook itself has seen quite a lot of success through mobile ads (53% of their revenue last quarter).

According to reports, Paper will be officially launched on the US App Store on Monday the 3rd of February. It will only be available to iPhone users in the beginning and there are not, as of yet, any indications of when an Android or iPad version of the app will become available. Whilst many have argued that Paper could spell the death of Facebook’s traditional app, only time will tell.

Blog Engage Start Newest Guest Blogging Contest

It feels like 2014 has only just begun, but already Brian (owner of social network, Blog Engage) has announced their first guest blogging contest for the year.

The general idea is pretty simple – all they are asking is that interested parties post a guest blog on the Blog Engage website and then promote it as much as possible. Those bloggers with the most social activity and comments on their blog at the conclusion of the competition will win a share of US$500.

It also gives Brian and the team at Blog Engage a chance to thank the sponsors of the contest (a full list can be found below) without whom this wonderful prize would not be possible.

Contest Sponsors

Guest Blogging

Sandy "AIDY" Hoffman - Writer. Gamer. Awesome.

Garden Directory

Go Garden Guides

Just Gardening Fun

Segura Trading

Hydroponic Production

Earth Care Greenhouses
The contest runs from January 10 until February 15 with the winners drawn and notified on February 28. In between the competition closing and the draw date, entrants are still able to collect as much promotion as they can.

“Jelly” – The New Social Search App From The Minds Of Biz Stone And Ben Finkel

What do you get when one of the co-founders of Twitter, Biz Stone, and his former colleague, Ben Finkel, put their heads together to come up with a social search app that aims to answer all your questions? Why, “Jelly” of course! The pair developed the app by building on the concept of if you have questions that there is somebody out there who knows the answer.

Stone and Finkel announced the app on their company blog on January 7, saying that “Jelly is designed to search the group mind of your social networks – and what goes around comes around. You may find yourself answering questions as well as asking”.

The app can be downloaded from either iTunes or Google Play, ensuring that users of all devices can participate. Users can then submit questions that can be answered by anyone within their existing social networks. It is also possible for questions to be forwarded outside of the app, allowing for a much broader audience and a wider range of responses.

Stone and Finkel were also eager to point out that the app also lets users perform searches using images. “Images are in the foreground of the Jelly experience because they add depth and context to any question. You can crop, reframe, zoom and draw on your images to get more specific”.

Amy Gesenhues of Search Engine Land pointed out that this is not the first attempt to answer questions in the social search segment – Ask.com, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Google Answers and Facebook have also tried to crack the market but have been unsuccessful. Only time will tell, however, whether Stone and Finkel have managed to make an impression with Jelly.