We’ve been long-standing fans of Pearltrees, the French startup that makes organizing content you find online into themes via shareable collections of linked ‘pearls’. Now it’s bringing the experience to the iPhone and expanding the kinds of content that can be shared via the service.
Like the browser-based and iPad versions of Pearltrees, the iPhone app allows you to collect and share Web pages in themed groups. You can search and explore other users’ content too, making it a serendipitous way of uncovering new things you never knew existed (see our review of the iPad app for a quick catch-up).
To tie in with the new app, Pearltrees now allows users to share images and photos from your iPhone, and text notes too. When we chatted to the startup’s CEO, Patrice Lamothe last week, he described this as “a natural evolution” of the service that expands users’ ability to collect and share the things they care about.
The iPhone app itself has all the polish of its iPad cousin. Lamothe explains, “The idea is to have an app on the iPhone where you can find everything that interests you, whether you’ve found it yourself or other people have found it. A digital library in your pocket is incredibly powerful.”
You can browse and edit your own ‘pearltrees’, and a Discover tab lets you explore related content. This is a really natural way to see what other people have shared via the service. For example, a small collection of content about Steve Jobs that I pulled together around the time of his death expands out to other people’s Steve Jobs content.
A broader range of content can then be viewed by scrolling the screen in different directions away from the center. From Steve Jobs, you can find yourself visiting pearltrees about the future of TV, TED talks and other loosely-linked topics.
It really is a good way to stumble upon something you never expected to find, and the interface is delightfully natural to control. That said, it could do with some refining; even with a ‘back’ button, it can be hard at times to navigate your way back to where you previously were if you stumble into an area you didn’t mean to. The fact that my Steve Jobs example led me quickly to a decidedly unrelated and NSFW type of ‘jobs’ indicates that there’s some work to do on the algorithm, too.
Still, Pearltrees’ arrival on the iPhone is an overdue and welcome development. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys organizing, sharing and exploring online content, this is most definitely worth downloading.
Image credit: Dave Cynkin