Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
Part news reader, part browser and part social feed, Futureful is proving to be an interesting example of how smart design really is capable of bringing something fresh to the content discovery table.
Backed by Skype Co-Founder Janus Friis, Futureful launched for iPad users in the US only in January. But with version 2.0, Futureful is available globally and is also now optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch.
How it looks
You don’t need to sign-in or register to use Futureful – in fact, you can’t sign-in or register. When you first launch the app, you’ll see a seemingly random array of topics. Click on one of these, and you’ll be served a range of sub-topics that circle around it.
The latest update also reels in a whole new UI. Indeed, you can drag the little topic bubbles around the screen and ‘flick’ them out of view to surface fresh topics. ‘Playful’ is the word used by the Finnish the startup to describe its new interface and, well, I can’t think of a better word to describe it myself – it’s really a joy to use.
To read an article, simply tap or drag it up from the bottom, and you’re good to go.
Futureful actually learns about your interests based on your activity within the app. So what articles and topics you read, and even how far you scroll through an article, will influence what it serves up moving forward. And unlike search engines, Futureful never takes you back to the same result twice.
You can choose and combine interesting topics, and then share any article easily across the usual channels.
Futureful actually reminds me a little of Wikiweb, which we previously noted is a beautiful Wikipedia app for visualizing connections between articles. But Futureful takes things to a whole new level, certainly from a design perspective.
While the likes of Flipboard have carved a sizable niche in the mobile newsreader sphere, if you have no idea what you want to read then Futureful is a compelling proposition for surfacing random articles from across the Web.
“The best moments in life happen when your own choices mix with the random and unknown,” says Marko Anderson, Co-founder of Futureful. “Futureful brings that magic to the web. Its’ not just about the latest noise, the same old websites, or what your friends are into…it’s about the best stuff for you, at your own pace.”
Founded in 2012, Futureful is based between the US and Finland. While it’s iOS only for now, Futureful will be rolling out on other mobile platforms later this year.
Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.