Here’s a shocker: Facebook’s first major update to Paper, its socially-augmented news-reading app, makes it more social. Specifically, the app’s 1.1 update now allows users to comment on posts using photos, added birthday and event notifications and tacked on an unread-message counter to help users keep track of Group activity. Facebook hasn’t fiddled with the user interface much, but content from Bloomberg, Mashable, Popular Science and six other news sources have been gussied up with new, custom article covers.
With Paper, Facebook set out to prove that it could “think small,” rebuilding itself from the ground up for mobile devices. This meant removing lots of clutter, and in some cases, leaving out certain features that some Facebook users might have considered essential. Today, Facebook is launching Paper 1.1, an update meant to add back a few of Facebook’s most important features, while continuing to think about how Paper can be different. Paper 1.1’s most noticeable addition is the inclusion of Birthdays and Events, two of Facebook’s oldest features. But instead of bundling the two into your News Feed as Facebook’s main app does, Paper adds them to the Notifications screen. “We thought Notifications would be a good place to put this stuff,” says Michael Reckhow, product manager on Paper.