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Why Flipboard for the web should be your new homepage

Do you really need to set Google as your homepage anymore? With the arrival of Flipboard’s new web experience, we think it might be time for a change.

Yesterday Flipboard made the jump to the PC with a website that now relays the tailored content and feeds you’ve come to know and love from the company’s mobile apps.

Flipboard.com used to be more of a glorified advert for the company’s suite of mobile applications and a means for content providers to submit media to the gatekeepers of the service’s interface. The new .com now repackages the key tropes that make the mobile applications so popular in an effort to finally transform Flipboard into a true cross-platform service and perhaps it’ll entice a few new users along for the ride too.

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In its current form, Flipboard for web is free of ads, but that’s unlikely to last forever

Technically you could say the company is doing things a little backwards by bringing a mobile experience to the bigger, bulkier world of desktop PCs; CEO Mike McCue even describes the move as ‘retro’. The design itself is notably different to the mobile apps, although there’s the same DNA running through the image layouts and typography. It’s been intelligently designed as well so content neatly scales to the size of your browser window.

One key omission is the flipping action that gave the original mobile app its name, replaced instead by the more conventional scroll. Flipboard’s own Didier Hilhorst told The Verge, “We tried flipping on the web, (but) because you’re not touching the screen, it feels unnatural.” He continued, “We realized we needed to stay true to what the web is about.”

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Depending on whether you’ve already setup a Flipboard account or not you’ll land on a main page headed up by your ‘cover stories’ or a list of topics to pick your interests from. There are also links to other feeds you may be following and other suggested magazines Flipboard thinks you might like.

There’s a separate tab for viewing content you’ve chosen to follow in a grid or a list view and that covers topics, magazines, sources and people. The third piece of the new web-based puzzle is the Explore tab, which like its mobile counterpart includes a ton of content you and the people around you might enjoy.

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We’re also fans of the fact that rich content like inline audio and videos are supported along with animated gifs. You can also add a ‘Flip it’ button to websites or as a Chrome extension, letting you add content to your magazines, operating in a similar fashion to the Pinterest plugin.

Although in its current state all Flipboard for web is merely doing is serving as a link through to the original site or article, this is something the company hopes to alter by ensuring formatting tools can be introduced to keep users within the domain of Flipboard.com, and displaying content with the service’s distinct aesthetic. Flipboard is already working with the likes of National Geographic and the Fast Company for such purposes.

Let us know what you think about the new Flipboard web experience and what you’d like to add or change about it.

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