Facebook announces Paper: a 'distraction-free' news-reading app for iOS

Facebook is making its own play in the news app category, going up against incumbents like Flipboard and Google's own Newsstand service. It's called Paper and it promises a "full-screen" distraction-free layout, with the app separating out your own Facebook News feed to begin with. You can then add to that, picking from Facebook's curated themes that'll include photography, sports, food, science and design. If you feared this would be populated exclusively by giant media corps, Facebook is promising that articles will come from well-known sites as well as "emerging voices," although it says it'll also ensure that trusted publications will be easy to spot within the mix.

Navigation from article to article is done through swipes. And you'll be able to tilt the phone and arc across bigger panoramic pictures. From the early screens that Facebook's been sharing, the social network is going heavy on the visual appeal: Pictures dominate the navigation, with soft white icons laid on top of pictures for navigation -- there's certainly flashes of iOS 7 in places. Videos, full-screen, will also auto-play (we're hoping there will be a toggle for that). The app launches February 3rd and marks the premier release for the social network's Creative Labs department: More apps are promised from the team going forward.