Hawaii Geek Beat: Facebook Paper, Flappy Bird

This morning’s “Hawaii Geek Beat” segment on Hawaii News Now focused on a couple of new offerings from Facebook as the massive social networking site celebrated its tenth birthday.

First, there were the “Look Back” videos that compiled a photographic retrospective of users’ history on Facebook (here’s mine, fittingly starring my wife Jen).  If you needed any more evidence that a picture is worth 1,000 words, these videos showed how compelling they can be — even though every one used the same music and same template.

It was a great gift for Facebook users (even though Google+ did it first)… and a few days after they were launched, Facebook added the ability to edit the photos and posts used in the video.

Secondly we talked about Facebook’s new “Paper” app (not to be confused with the highly regarded “Paper” app for drawing and sketching). It was a ground-up rethinking of how one might interact with the content on Facebook, and it offers a beautiful, clean design and a very touch-centric interface. In addition to a pretty way to navigate your friends’ posts, though, Facebook added human-curated news channels, hoping that people will turn to it (rather than Twitter) to find interesting things to read.

Facebook smartly left its original app alone for people who prefer the standard newsfeed, but “Paper” may very well be Facebook’s future.

Finally, we had to talk about Flappy Bird, the incredibly popular, incredibly frustrating mobile game. No sooner had it gone viral and taken over the world, its creator, Dong Nguyen, decided to pull from the app store on Sunday.

There were conspiracy theories about how it got so popular so fast (I think being featured by YouTube star PewDiePie last month was key), and why he decided to kill it after earning an estimated $50,000 a day (some suspected Nintendo threatened legal action over similar graphics, but it seems like he just got overwhelmed). But the game was a hit, and its creator reminded the world, “I still make games.”

My Flappy Bird high score is 11, by the way.

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