Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flip the Board


For awhile now I-Pad has had Flipboard. The other day they introduced it for Android with a major twist, it works with Google Reader, Google Plus, You Tube, and Twitter api's (mashups from Library 2.0).  For a Google fanboy this warranted a closer look.

I have toyed with magazine style apps before with mixed success. As I played around with Flipboard, it began to grow on me. Flipboard totally controls the layout which is something I struggle with because I like to tinker with such things. This means you can't easily move things from one page to another, the layout is controlled by the order you put content in. Time will tell how big of an issue this will be for me.

One thing I like is how it allows you to dive deep into your content. For example, I not only got to choose Twitter or Google Plus updates but also individual circles or lists. FlipBoard creates a modern, attractive, magazine like interface that lets you focus on the content. What is interesting about FlipBoard is its specifically designed for the I-Pad, tablet, or phone not a mobile version of desktop content. Much of their curated content is specifically created for the tablet which means large photos, large text and flipping.  You navigate through the app by flipping with your finger or thumb, I have used both. The flipping is quick so you can get through a Google Reader feed rather quickly.



I would suggest you do two things prior to installing Flipboard.

1. Create a Google Reader account, add several rss feeds, and create some bundles. I have created a Library bundle and any time I add an rss, I put it in the correct bundle.  In my Chrome browser any time I add an rss feed it asks me if I want to use Google Reader. 
2. Create a list in Twitter. A list and a Bundle are conceptually the same, grouping content together.   For example searching Twitter with the ALA # and adding them to your newly formed list might be a good place to start.
Now when you add your Twitter or Google Reader account you will be able to select specific bundles and lists. It is also important to remember your password is never shared with Flipboard.  Both Twitter and Google take care of the identity authorization so Flipboard itself never has access. This is important because the ugly part of Web 2.0 is many apps are just identity harvesters.