Deals

Facebook buys design-focused iPad publisher Push Pop Press

Facebook has announced its acquisition of Push Pop Press, maker of a slick and celebrated iPad app called Our Choice.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Push Pop Press was co-founded by Apple designer Mike Matas and Apple engineer Kimon Tsinteris; both cofounders will be working at Facebook, a company rep confirmed to VentureBeat.

Push Pop came into public awareness when it partnered with Al Gore on Our Choice, an interactive e-book of sorts that managed to combine a slew of digital bells and whistles with a fluid tablet app experience. Matas demoed the app at TED in March.

Push Pop Press intended to change the way people read books; instead, it’s packing up its technology and heading to Facebook.

This doesn’t mean that Facebook is going into the digital publishing arena; rather, Pop Push’s technology and general approach to user interfaces and user experience will be integrated into existing Facebook apps, products and features.

“We’re thrilled to confirm that we’ve acquired Push Pop Press,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We can’t wait for… some of the technology, ideas and inspiration behind Push Pop Press to become part of how millions of people connect and share with each other on Facebook.”

According to a statement from Push Pop, the acquisition is about “giving people even richer ways to share their stories.”

To get an idea for what Push Pop Press does in terms of app design, check out this Our Choice trailer, which shows the book/app in action on an iPad:

Facebook has had a rather utilitarian design aesthetic since its inception. The brainchild of engineers, the site is simply laid out, text-heavy and conducive to point-click browsing rather than the tapping, touching, pinching and rotating of mobile browsing. Facebook.com is by no standard “rich” in the interactive design sense.

But the company is constantly making and testing design tweaks, some of which attempt to offer users a more visually oriented Facebook experience.

We’ve also seen the company making strides toward more visually appealing but still useful interfaces in the mobile category. A leaked iPhone screenshot from June shows a Facebook photo-sharing app that has more in common with its pure-play competitors than with its web-based parent.

Also in June, we learned that the Facebook iPad app is very much underway and will bring an overhauled UI for features such as Groups and Chat. Facebook for iPad is expected to launch soon. While most of the designs are said to be in final or near-final stages, we expect that the app will need maintenance and upgrades. And we’re fairly sure a Facebook app for Android tablets is on the horizon, as well.

However, in the land of tablets, Facebook has to compete with such gorgeously designed competitors as Flipboard, Zite and other magazine-like apps that use Facebook’s APIs to deliver Facebook’s content in an aesthetically rich package. For that kind of competition, the outside perspective and rich digital creativity from Push Pop Press might be helpful.

Push Pop Press has stated that Our Choice will still be available for purchase, with proceeds from any sales going to the Climate Reality Project. Push Pop will not publish any other titles or continue to develop its publishing platform.

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