Since launching its interests-based social network less than three years ago, Paris-based Pearltrees has attracted more than 500,000 contributors who have posted more than 25 million pieces of digital content. The venture capital-backed collector community today launches a universal version of its app so it works on iPhone as well as iPad now.
Here’s how it works:
As one who signed-up for Pearltrees relatively recently, I am more of an admirer of the service than a practitioner at this point. The notion of a social network that doesn’t emphasize personal connections but rather common interests is intriguing. If I am looking to collect information about the band Phish or advice on dog grooming, I like having the option to tap the opinions of enthusiasts rather than just those in my social graph.
Still, it takes a bit of work to get a feel for everything. Visually, while Pearltrees is functional on the desktop, it does not have the same emotional impact of a Pinterest or other design-oriented services.
Pearltree’s mobile applications – the company debuted Pearltrees as iPad-only application last October – are a much more pleasing way to view and process collected information that interests you. The iPhone app, notes CEO Patrice Lamothe, is perfect for “when you have 2-3 minutes, when on bus or plane, let me watch something interesting.”
The iPhone app allows users to add their own “Pearls” of digital content and discover related “Pearltrees”.
Lamothe, who has raised nearly $12 million for Pearltrees, said the company initially created apps for iOS devices because of “a lack of compelling Android tablets.” He says there are plans to eventually expand the service to that mobile platform.
Nearly 30 percent of Pearltree’s traffic comes from the United States, an additional 20 percent from France, and the balance from across the globe. Lamothe said the 15-person company will eventually monetize the service by offering users premium services like the ability to publish private Pearltrees. He envisions a subscription-based service a la Dropbox and Evernote.