Flipboard is the archetype for digital media consumption, packaging stories from thousands of sources into a personalized magazine you flip through with a finger. And though it may have been the original iPad magazine, these days 70 percent of its users are flipping through its smartphone app. That, and the company’s recent acquisition of Zite, meant it was long past time for an upgrade to Flipboard’s mobile experience.
Flipboard 3.0 has expanded beyond iOS to Android and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets. It’s also changed from a passive consumption experience to one that lets you curate your own personal collections. Today’s update makes the smartphone app more navigation friendly, adding a daily digest, and opening straight into the content you’re interested in reading. The result is an app that provides more opportunity for exploring topics you love, is easier to navigate, and still packages articles in a beautiful way.
Previously, the app opened with a tiled interface of your Cover Stories and broad categories of interest, with things like search, discovery, and account settings hidden behind a button in the upper right. Now, on iOS, the app home screen features the familiar five buttons across the bottom like we see in, say, Instagram. The Android version positions them across the top of the screen. This makes it easier to navigate to your personal feed, a list of subjects to explore, search, notifications, and your profile. And by ditching the tiled interface, you’re one click closer to reading a story upon opening the app.
As for content, Flipboard previously relied on a mix of pieces shared on your social media channels and items curated by Flipboard. Now the app adds Zite’s machine learning and topic extraction engine so readers can explore new content based on niche subject areas. Rather than a high-level topic like cycling, for example, you can get updated articles on narrower topics like road racing or cyclocross. The content in these topics is fueled by a blend of algorithmic and human curation.
Flipboard’s mobile experience also includes a new element called Daily Edition, a curated summary of the day’s biggest headlines that arrives at 7 am local time. Flipboard’s not the first to do this (Yahoo has an attractive option called Yahoo News Digest), but it makes the app a more complete singular source for both important news you should read about, and the stuff you actually want to read about.
Flipboard also will begin suggesting magazines, topics, and people to follow based on your reading and discovery habits. As the app’s changes thus far have been both tasteful and useful in my opinion, I’m not worried that this suggestion feature will get too annoying or invasive.
The updates roll out in the US and Canada today. The Daily Edition will be available in six regions including the UK, Brazil, India, and Latin America.