Pinterest is the popular way to collect the things you love online, as well as a place to find recipes to try, projects to craft and shoes to buy. And until now, Pinterest has had very little competition — mainly from lookalike sites.
But digital "magazine" app Flipboard (for smartphones and tablets) could be poised to lure pin-happy users away. Up until last week, Flipboard was an app that pulled together content feeds users selected from websites and their social media networks and packaged them into a magazine-style format. But a user's participation stopped there.
Flipboard 2.0 (now on iOS and coming soon to Android) essentially lets users create their own mini-Flipboards, called magazines, focused on single topics, say Coachella concert 2013. As with Pinterest boards, users can make as many Flipboard magazines as they'd like.
Making your own Flipboard is easy to do. Like Pinterest , Flipboard 2.0 has two tools that make collecting stories as easy as possible.
First, Flipboard has added a "+" icon to every page. Tap it, and that page is added to one of your magazines.
Second, you can add the Flipboard bookmarklet (essentially a button) to your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari), as well as Safari's mobile version built into both iPad and iPhone.
You can "flip" a page into a selected magazine just as you can pin a photo using Pinterest's "Pin It" bookmarklet to a particular board. Using both Flipboard tools, you can add an awful lot of content to a magazine in a brief time and continue to add stories in the future.
Currently, Pinterest has a leg-up on Flipboard. For instance, the magazine cover is a photo from the last page you flipped into the magazine, and it will change every time you add something new. Because other users can subscribe to your magazines, it could get confusing if covers continually change. (Flipboard lets you slide a switch to make each magazine private.) However, you can set the cover by going into the page's sharing options, a hard-to-find option that should be more visible as it is on Pinterest.
Also, pins arrayed on Pinterest boards are easier to locate than pages in a Flipboard magazine. However, Pinterest users have been clamoring for the ability to rearrange their pins and search for them — requests that have been ignored by Pinterest .
It wouldn't take much for Flipboard to add features that would make it easier to use for creating collections than what's available on Pinterest. Taking a cue from physical magazines, a setup that everyone is still familiar with, Flipboard could add a table of contents, make a user's magazines searchable, and let users rearrange their pages.
If Flipboard takes the initiative to match and go beyond Pinterest's features, it could win converts. If not, many of the magazines made after the Flipboard 2.0 launch are likely to gather digital dust.