Pulse Versus Flipboard
Only a few weeks back I wrote about Flipboard as the first Social Magazine in sync with Web 3.0 by allowing users to create their own custom made news channels and share them via Facebook and Twitter with seamless ease. Furthermore Flipboard turned users Facebook and Twitter accounts into a magazine style format. Right from flipping the pages to the design Flipboard was the first app to capture the true sentiment of a “Social Magazine”.
Now a few weeks later we have the PULSE reader. Pulse News Reader is really just a fancy news reader, as the name says. It’s a neat a way of pulling in information from various RSS feeds across the Web, but it aggregates them together in a unique way. The product has a list of suggested or “featured” feeds, but you can easily add your own by connecting it with a Google reader account; or with your Facebook or Twitter feeds; or by searching online.
The basic interface shows the top four stories from each of your news sources across the page. You can scroll left and right within each source, and up and down within your sources. It’s a quick and easy way to see all the headlines. In some cases on the home page you see pictures related to the content; and in other cases, just text. In general, when you click on the story, you see what’s in the RSS feed in a text view, but you can click “web” to see the full page online. Sharing direct to Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter is simple and Pulse’s tie-up with Posterous means you can auto-share your news finds and curated posts across your social graph in a matter of seconds.
Design-wise Pulse is clearly not going for the magazine look like Flipboard. The usability is kept simple and very scroll-based and unlike Flipboard which aggregates streams of information about a single topic from various sources (i.e FlipFilm brings information about films from a number of sources), PULSE aggregates feeds from a certain number of websites.
Both applications are certainly in sync with the digital revolution and the changing face of news, information and reading.
Neither Pulse News Reader nor Flipboard really is a complete replacement for a more conventional news reader since they don’t really work well with huge numbers of feeds. But I have found myself using them a lot more, simply because they offer a unique reading experience.
Still, the concept of a “social magazine,” is most interesting. In particular, Flipboard looks like a magazine, but has the ability for people to always see the latest stuff, and to see what others are saying. Moving forward, we’ll be able to see readers where we only see comments left behind by friends and not everyone. Also, both applications still don’t offer “complete freedom” relative to what information one wants to see. The pool of “sites” where information is available from still seems limited, and customization has nowhere near reached the peak that it should.
Currently as it stands, Flipboard still gets a slightly higher edge for now than Pulse, however lets see if this changes moving forward AND which other News Readers come on to the scene in coming weeks and months…however in the meantime, as far as information aggregation and social sharing go…Flipboard and Pulse are the two best on the iPad.