Pearltrees offers perhaps the most elegant and visual way of collecting and sharing online content available today, and now the French startup is launching premium accounts that give users more privacy, for a price.

As a recap, Pearltrees lets you organise links to online content, visualized as ‘trees’ made up of ‘pearls’. So a pearltree about Apple may contain a branch about Steve Jobs, which then branches off to separate strands about different parts of his life, each linking to related content that is handpicked by users. It’s a concept that has so far spawned a Web app, an iPad app, and most recently an iPhone version.

Until now, the service has been free, open and social with, with created trees all searchable by other users. For those who would like to create their own private trees, perhaps for work purposes, the new premium service launches today.

A magazine 520x300 Stylish Web curation service Pearltrees launches a premium offering for private content sharing

Aimed at researchers, reporters, corporate teams, small businesses, and anyone who needs to collect and share media confidentially with clients, Pearltrees Premium allows content to be curated individually or in teams without the fruits of their labor being discoverable by others. These trees can then be selectively shared with outsiders who need to see them via a private link. Paying users also get premium customer service and a guarantee of no ads in the future, if the startup decides to implement them on the free service.

A team 520x300 Stylish Web curation service Pearltrees launches a premium offering for private content sharing

Also today, Pearltrees is rolling out updates to its Web app, iPhone app and iPad app, taking the whole service up to version 1.0, with a more coherent user experience across all platforms. These updates are available to both free and paying users.

Content curation was quite a buzzword last year, and while the hype has calmed down, Pearltrees Premium is a test for how valuable users really find such services. Pricing is set at $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year – certainly low enough for anyone who works with data to try out.

➤ Pearltrees

Image credit: iStockPhoto / Thinkstock