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.

Facebook Announces That Their Graph Search Will Now Include Posts And Status Updates

On Monday, Facebook announced that posts and status updates would now be included in the results of their Graph Search. This will allow users to search for content that includes photo captions, check-ins and comments. Whilst it has only been rolled out to a small group of users to begin with, their feedback will be vital in altering Graph Search before it’s rolled out as a whole.







The basic operation of Graph Search will remain the same, however, with users only being able to see content that has been shared with them (including content from friends) and posts that have been shared publicly. Users are encouraged to use privacy shortcuts and Activity Log to review who can see the things that they share through their own accounts.

In the Newsroom post announcing the new Graph Search feature, Facebook said that users will be able to “search for topics (they’re) interested in and see what your friends are saying”, “search for posts about a city, place or from a certain time” and “search for posts that (they) want to see again”. Overall, the feature is designed to make the popular social network more enjoyable.

As feedback comes in from the small group of users who have been granted access to the new-look Graph Search feature, it is believed that it will be rolled out to more users. Facebook have also verbalized their commitment to improving the feature continuously in the future. If you would like to learn more, visit Facebook’s Help Center.

Microsoft Announces New Surface 2 And Surface Pro 2 Tablets

On Monday, Microsoft announced that they would be releasing two new versions of the tablets that they launched only a year ago – the Surface 2, which runs Windows RT, and the Surface Pro 2, which runs Windows 8.1. Whilst they have fixed nearly every hardware issue that users criticized with the first versions, the company still faces the issue of getting consumers to see the tablets differently.

surface 2

One of the main drawbacks of the Surface Pro was that it was expensive; whilst the second version is still pretty pricey, it does have a much better battery life and can run Outlook. And, whilst the Windows app store is still missing a number of vital applications, the number of apps available has gone from 10,000 to 100,000 in only a year.

Surface Pro 2

Then there’s Windows RT, which is the first version of the operating system that runs on low-power chips that are normally used for mobile phones. Whilst this was a great way for Microsoft to address the mobile market (in which they have previously struggled) and it has allowed for thinner and lighter tablet designs, it’s still not compatible with many older applications.

The biggest problem for Microsoft, however, will be getting consumers to see the new tablets as something they would like to buy. “We’re focusing on explaining the difference a little bit more,” said Julie Larson-Green, “there are two kinds of people – the ones that don’t want the complexity of a full PC and people who really need a full PC. We’ll talk more in those two dimensions.”

Image Source: smh

Does Google Take Action Against Auto-Generated Content?

In the latest webmaster help video from Matt Cutts, an engineer who works with Google, the topic of auto-generated content and whether action, in the form of a penalty, is taken against these sorts of websites. “We are absolutely willing to take action against those sites,” Cutt said in the video.

Many years ago, websites that used auto-generated content were known as “Made for AdSense” or “MFA” sites. This is because they were created in the hope that people would land on the page, not find what they were looking for and click on one of the many AdSense advertisements to leave the page rather than hitting the back button.

The content for these websites is automatically generated with a script that takes snippets of search results or web pages including those keywords. Think about those times you’ve searched for reviews on a television you want to buy, for example, and you think you’ve found a link only to click on it and see “0 reviews found for Sony televisions”.

“We have rules in our guidelines about auto-generated pages that have very little value,” Cutts said. This is because, according to Google, landing on a page that doesn’t give you what you’re looking for results in a bad user experience. Cutts also pointed out that webmasters can avoid being penalised by ensuring that search result snippets aren’t being indexed.

So, what’s the bottom line? If you’re a webmaster who is creating websites with auto-generated text and snippets, understand that Google can (and probably will) penalise you. And if you’re a user who comes across these sorts of sites in Google results, know that you can send in a spam report.