Tag Archives: facebook paper

Best Free Apps for New iPhone Users

By Tracey Dowdy

If you’re a new iPhone user, transferring email, contacts and your calendar is as simple as adding a new account, or you can use an app like Copy My Data. Photos, videos, books, music and documents are easily transferred as well.

The one thing that won’t transfer is your apps but not to worry – many of the same apps are available for iOS that you loved on your Android phone. In fact, one of the perks of being an iPhone user is that new apps are often introduced before they are available for Android devices, and some stay exclusive to the iOS platform.

So if you’re new to iPhone, these are some of the best apps for new users. Many of these are likely to be familiar to you and others are iOS exclusive, but best of all – they’re free!

Facebook Paper
Facebook Paper is designed to make your feed have more of a magazine or newspaper feel. Designed specifically for the iPhone (no iPad version), content is posted in a grid so it doesn’t feel as cluttered and is easier to read. Content isn’t limited only to what’s been posted by your friends but is curated by a team of Facebook staff to include what’s trending across social media.

The Spotify streaming music service allows you to search by artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label to create custom playlists of your favorite music from a vast catalog.  Accounts can be integrated with your Facebook and Twitter accounts and premium accounts are ad free. Spotify radio lets you choose by decade or genre and, unlike Pandora, you can skip as many tracks as you like.

Onavo Extend
Onavo Extend works in the background compressing incoming images to help limit your data use. The app automatically turns itself off when Wi-Fi is available and tracks data usage so you can see what apps or activities are using the most data. It’s especially convenient if you travel outside the U.S. when every mega-byte counts.

Pocket allows users to save articles or webpages to a list that can then be read later offline. Pocket syncs across devices so an article you saw on your phone during your morning commute can be read later on your laptop or iPad.

Brewster combines all your contacts from across your networks into one address book. You don’t have to download an app – simply authorize Brewster through your Google or iCloud account and contacts will automatically be synced. Now when you start to type in an email or text, Brewster will auto-fill the field based on your contacts.

SwiftKey is an onscreen keyboard that intuitively picks up on your commonly used words, typos, and even the emojis you use most often. Sign up through Facebook or Google Plus and the app discerns your writing style based on your posts and email. The more you use it, the more accurate and customized it gets.

Flipboard follows the trend of magazine style layouts to provide users with an uncluttered view of RSS feeds and social media pages. Create an account with Flipboard, then choose which social media account you want to pull content from. Choose from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. You can customize the layout and create a “magazine” of preferred content.

Of course, apps like DropBox, Google Maps, Skype and Evernote have virtually become smartphone essentials. Needless to say, with over 1.2 million apps available, you’ll have no trouble making your new iPhone unique to you.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Facebook Gets Personal

Just days after announcing record profits on the back of a surge in mobile advertising revenue, the huge social network has rolled out a couple of brand new features that have delighted fans and brought grudging admiration from even its sternest critics.

The first feature, called Look Back, is a way for its 1.2 billion users to join Facebook in celebrating its 10-year anniversary. It does that by constructing a montage of each individual’s top posts and photos over that period, seamlessly sewing them all together in a personalized video, complete with slick editing and sentimental music.

If you can’t remember what your first profile picture looked like, or which of your photos garnered the most likes, then this is a great way to take a trip down memory lane. (Interestingly, if you don’t have enough posts or photos to make a video, then you will still get a tenth-anniversary thank you note from ‘Mark and the Facebook Team.’)

The second new feature has a more permanent air about it – and some potentially serious implications for other popular web destinations. This week Facebook rolled out its much-heralded newsfeed app called Paper.

Currently only available for the iPhone, Paper presents mobile users with their current newsfeed in a magazine-style format, complete with other non-Facebook articles blended in. The result is your own customized news site, offering a fascinating smorgasbord of national news, personal interest stories and regular status updates.

Almost as impressive as the collection of personalized posts is the functionality of Paper. The beautifully presented articles can be flipped to open, rearranged, tilted, and of course pinched and zoomed for a closer look.

How Facebook chooses what to include in Paper for each individual user is the secret sauce in the whole exercise. Facebook has increasingly fine-tuned its computer algorithms to bring desktop users more substantive articles and less cat videos and other trivia that only serve to clutter up individual news feeds. But how that now translates to including articles selected by Facebook’s own editors is an even deeper mystery.

But it’s not just the user who should be concerned about what’s included in Paper. Facebook is increasingly responsible for driving users to other web sites, and accounts for a significant percentage of the traffic experienced by “viral” web sites like Gawker and Buzzfeed. Facebook’s ability to be highly selective in what it deems ‘Paper-worthy’ could be a serious concern for some of these outlets.

Facebook has said that it currently has no plans to get into the original content business and has instead worked closely with The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and others to make sure their web-based content is optimized for Paper. But again, the threat exists, particularly for established news portals like Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN.

But for now, iPhone users have a unique opportunity to enjoy a Flipboard-style mobile magazine that is the closest thing they’ll get to their own news web site. Checking your Facebook page has never been more fun!